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Pathmatics Blog
Ad Intelligence 101 |


How Q3’s Top 5 Advertisers Approach Creative Strategy

December 04 2017 by Jordan Kramer

In Q3, Samsung spent more than any other brand, followed by Procter & Gamble, Hulu, Geico and PepsiCo, Inc. 

That represents millions in ad spend combined. So, how did these advertising giants approach their creative strategies in the third quarter? Using native ad intelligence, we rounded up the top creatives (by both spend and impressions) from the top five brands.

Bonus: Each analysis also includes a lesson learned to apply to your own ad strategy.

1. Samsung Focuses on Product Release

The electronics company spent roughly $80 million on advertising, and generated more than 4 billion impressions across 1,145 unique creatives. 

Pictured below is Samsung’s top ad, which won upwards of 265 million impressions (for more than $5 million in spend) over the span of about two weeks. It’s clear that Samsung increased its ad budget in Q3 for the release of its new product, the Galaxy Note8. A large majority of its creatives feature a visual of the new product.


Its second-most seen ad was also a single image, featuring “Buy a Galaxy S8 at Best Buy this summer and save $300.” Interestingly, Samsung spent less promoting this ad ($3.3 million) than it did on a 30-second video ($3.8 million); regardless, the first ad drove more impressions. The single image ad drove 239 million impressions, and the video had 95 million impressions. It’s critical to note that the video was featured largely on ESPN, while the other ad was featured on Mashable, Digital Trends and Gizmodo, among others. 

Lesson learned: Always monitor performance over time to see where your creatives resonate best.


2. Procter & Gamble Calls Consumers to Action

With a large portion of its ad budget going to Walmart.com, Procter & Gamble’s top three ad creatives included bold product placements.

In this case, number of impressions followed suit with ad spend. Its top ad, for Puffs, generated 211 million impressions for roughly $5 million. Next up, Procter & Gamble spent $4 million on an ad for Gillette, and $3 million on ad for Bounty. 

All creatives feature the product and logo prominently, quickly getting to the point and featuring a clear call to action.  

Lesson learned: Don’t be passive with your ask. Give consumers a pointed next step (e.g. Download, or Buy Now).


3. Hulu Keeps It Simple

In the third quarter, Hulu spent $39 million on 445 unique creatives—driving 3 billion impressions. 

It’s top ad ran for one single day and generated 134 million impressions (for $2.7 million). The three-second video ad features two views: the first features white copy with its logo and “Come TV with us.” The second screen flashes the following (pictured below).


The rest of Hulu’s ads are very similar; all are minimalistic and straightforward. 

Lesson learned: Don’t get carried away with too much ad copy. Say exactly what you mean in as few words as possible.  

4. Geico Shows a Sense of Humor

Geico spent more than $36 million on 941 unique creatives. The result: upwards of 2 billion impressions. 

The insurance company focused largely on video for its creatives in Q3. Its top ad, which garnered 99 million impressions, is a 37-second video featuring its beloved gecko. The gecko finds an in-house pool party, as well as the unfortunate result (a leaky ceiling). You can watch the ad on YouTube.

Similarly, the company’s other ads don’t disappoint. Lesson learned: Keep it light, and make your consumer smile.

5. Pepsi Chooses Bold Language and Bright Colors

The soft drink manufacturer went bold and bright with its ads in the third quarter. Pepsi allocated $35 million across 743 creatives, and generated nearly 3 billion impressions. 

The approach? Pepsi used the word, FREE (in all caps and bold) in two of its top three ads. All ads feature bright pops of color and prominent product placement. Like Procter & Gamble, it also placed clear calls to action in the bottom right hand corner.

Lesson learned: Be bold. Use keywords that will drive action and colors that will draw attention.


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About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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