Aldi tops meerkats as UK’s favourite TV advert, Nielsen reveals

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Aldi’s television advertisment featuring a po-faced old lady sitting alone at her dining table declaring, “I don’t like tea – I like gin”, has been voted the nation’s favourite ad in a study compiled by Nielsen.

The Aldi advertisement held off competition from meerkats (CompareTheMarket), Gary Lineker (Walkers Crisps) and a child dressed as Darth Vader (VW Passat) to become the UK’s most-liked TV ad of 2011, researchers reveal.

Nielsen’s study uses almost 2m survey results from viewers watching evening TV in the UK and is claimed to be the most comprehensive ongoing analysis of how the viewing public engages with TV ads.

Scores for likeability and recall have been tracked every day for each of this year’s nearly 4,000 new ads, shortly after each has been broadcast.

Comparing the 2011 list of most-liked ads with 2010’s, there have been noticeable developments in tone and content, added Nielsen. 

Four of last year’s top 10 ads featured celebrities – including Lewis Hamilton, Dannii Minogue, Mr T and Lionel Messi – compared to only two this year – Walkers (Lineker) and PG Tips (Johnny Vegas). 

Darren Moore, vice president for advertiser solutions at Nielsen, said: “This is the year relatable characters – people like you and me – replaced celebrities in the list of most-liked ads. Sarah Roberts in the CompareTheMarket ad, Warren from Halifax in the Foster’s ad, and everyday people in the Aldi ads, are now the central characters in the TV ads we love the most.

“Even the meerkats have proved to be more resilient than celebrities this year. Having starred in last year’s number one-liked ad, they’ve maintained a top-two place this year – proof by regularly changing the narrative of their ads, brands can keep existing characters fresh and popular.

“The 2011 list also suggests children (VW and John Lewis) and animals (CompareTheMarket, PG Tips, Dreamies) are triggering a more positive response for advertisers. 

“Humour, too, is a big theme in this year’s list. Nine of the top 10 most-liked ads are funny or comedic in tone. Only the John Lewis ad, which instead uses pathos and an emotive pull, takes a different route to engage viewers.”

The winning ad from Aldi was one of a series of creative spots from the discount supermarket, which all use subversive humour and relatable characters, said Nielsen. From this series, the ‘gin’ ad was the most liked.

The likeability index is a measure of the number of TV viewers who like an ad they saw, and whose brand they can remember, during the normal course of their TV viewing.

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