As the Holidays approach, thoughts turn to retail. It’s a perfect time to see how various department stores, fashion stores and online retailers have done in advertising effectiveness over the last 12 months.  Some retailers, like Kohl’s, have consistently good ads (outside of radio), while others (high-end retailers) always bring up the rear. This post explores the best ads across seven media types, analyzing why they work so well out of almost 1450 ads tested in the past year.

The Effective Retail Advertising Picture for the Last 12 Months 

First, an overall look (below) at Retail ads for this time period should give one pause.  While a lot of retailers have done well and their ads score way above the ABX Index average (the yellow line below), many other retailers have consistently scored below.  As a reminder, the ABX Index is a composite score for key KPIs that are predictive of sales success. 
The chart below shows the Average ABX Index scores for each retailer by media type.  In general, Radio always scores lowest because the creative is too-often an afterthought, such as quickly-written copy given to a DJ and hoping for the best.  Online Video and Television usually score highest because they are often pre-tested.  However, in this case, most of the Online ads scored below the average. 
Print also scores below average for the period, which is surprising considering all the great merchandise that retailers have to work with.  (Out-of-Home and FSIs are not well-represented since not many were tested this year.) The following will explore some of the best individual ads in each media type and explain why each was successful.

Television – Best Buy -“The Lab: WD Solid State Drive 60”

Best Buy’s “The Lab” campaign is adorable with every individual ad winning very high marks.  This particular “Lab” spot works because of simplicity of message coupled with quirky humor that leaves audiences feeling good. In fact, this simple, low-budget ad has an ABX Index of 135 and is among the top 99% of all 200,000 ABX-measured ads. 
This ad, like all “Lab” ads, features an employee who explains why a particular product is awesome.  In the telling, he does awkward, funny things (like the one pictured above where he’s demonstrating how a WD Solid State Drive can fit in all these different pockets), or throws the product up, spins around and tries to catch it.  You just have to see it (hint: click here).  The scores below show the Message was well very received at 134; Reputation was extremely high at 218; Likability was 167; and the high Action score indicated lots of CTA intentions such as Going to the Website at 180; Look for at 187; and Purchase at 129.  The high ABX Gender Equality Index (GEI™) for the Male at 113 would have impacted both Reputation and Action.  The low GEI for the Female was simply because she was virtually off-screen. This ad is truly a great example of effective advertising.

Radio – Walmart – “Introducing Free Next Day”

On-air microphone

Walmart nails Radio here with a simple :15 with female narrative, no competing heavy metal, and a message guaranteed to cause competitors to quake in their boots.  Free next-day delivery without membership fees is pretty hard to beat.  And that’s the secret: this spot is #1 in Retail for the year with an ABX Index of 127 (which is exceptionally high for radio) because it had a killer Message that was presented with absolute clarity.  This Message drove Reputation and Action with CTAs including Intents to Contact the Store (251), Go to Website (182), Recommend (189) and Purchase (134).

Online Video – Amazon – “Amazon Basics Reusable Silicone Baking Cups”

How can one find enough to say about Reusable Silicone Baking Cups to stretch out to 45 seconds? Well, Amazon did just that with a female narrator that seemed quite comfortable describing how these little cups replace traditional muffin cups and can be used for a variety of things. Not only that, they can be microwaved, frozen, dishwashed and more. But the best moment was when she read off each color. Here’s another super-simple, low-production-value ad with a happy soundtrack that literally wiped out all other online videos with an ABX Index of 139 – in the top 99% of ABX tested ads. Very clear branding (Awareness) and Message drove Reputation to 221 and Action to 159. Other scores included Likability at 169, Relevance at 138. All CTA’s were very high including Intent to Purchase at 148.


Online Display and Animation – Walmart – “Light Up Christmas Walmart.com”


Walmart shows us how effectively online ads with animation can be  used, and how much information can be included.  Once again, we see a simple ad with no spoken audio, but plenty of text and upbeat, happy music.  The Message is the most important, “Best-tastic gifts free same-day pickup.”  And then the slides go through some of Walmart’s best offers for the holidays.  The scores speak for themselves below, and others include high Likability (137), high Relevance (134) and high Purchase intent (160).

Print – Kohl’s – “The Completer Piece”

Kohl’s does a great job with fashion and is consistently among the highest-scoring of all advertisers across media types. This double-truck ad was the highest print ad measured this past year for retail and has great models as evidenced by the ABX Gender Equality Index™ of 111.  Other high scores for this add include Reputation and, to some degree, Action – though most was for an Intent to go to the Website (173).  We are also glad to see the large Kohl’s logo since some similar ads from last year were less well-branded.  But this ad is missing one important piece: what is the Message?  It’s a good image piece, but may not have driven sales very well.

Free-Standing Inserts – Target – “Fun Run”

In all candor, this FSI was fourth from the top scoring FSIs, with Walmart winning the first three.  But the point differential was so small, it seemed only fair to show another retailer in this post.  At an ABX Index of 120, this FSI was way ahead of Category and Media Norms.  Target gives a clear Message at 123 and presents its smiling model respectfully, earning a 105 in Gender Equality for Females.  Both contribute to its high Reputation and Action scores – with the strongest CTA being 193 for “Recommend” and 151 for “Look For.”  The wonderful colors and placement of sale information were also well-liked as evidenced by a strong Likability score of 136.

Out-of-Home – Walmart – “Introducing Free ‘NextDay’ Delivery”

Finally, the strongest OOH offering comes from Walmart with, once again, the “free next-day delivery” message.  What’s not to love?  A Message doesn’t get a lot clearer than this.  White and yellow large text on strong blue background – one has to notice it.  No clutter, no images, nothing to gum up the works.  The 192 score for Reputation, plus 140 in Likability, explains the reason for every CTA to be not only positive, but way above Norm for Category and Media.  Intent to Purchase is 149, Recommend is 165 and Website is 156.  This board, and the ad campaign surrounding it, certainly delivered a punch to Walmart’s competitors.

In summary, many of these ads showed humor, simplicity of presentation as well as message, respectful presentation of on-air talent, and an ability to move the audience toward action.  We can all learn a lot from these leading retailers.

If you have questions about this article or how ABX can help your brand, contact us HERE.

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Jeff Schamel

Vice President, Operations

Jeff Schamel Directs Operations for ABX with Experience from IPSOS and P&G

Jeff has more than 25 years of market research experience including project management, client service, operations, production and sales.

Before joining the ABX Senior Management team, Jeff was a Senior Account Manager at Ipsos, working with Procter & Gamble and other client assignments. Prior to that, he was Senior Project Manager for Opinion One, where he was responsible for guiding the company’s online, mall and other initiatives for eight years.

Jeff began his market research career with Cooper Research while participating in the Professional Practice Program at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon graduating with his BS in Marketing and Management, Jeff led a team of data analysts as Group Manager at Matrixx Marketing Research (now Concentrix).

Jeff’s broad in-depth marketing research experiences enable him to bring a unique perspective to directing operations that creates effective and efficient environments to support a wide range of client activities.  Having come up in the industry alongside the advent and progression of online interviewing, he has a unique perspective on the benefits and challenges of conducting quality research resulting in meaningful results.

Jeff considers himself an amateur music historian and sports enthusiast, as well as a family man, who takes advantage of the many outdoor activities in his community including biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming.

Dr. Peter Moomaw

Co-Founder, Vice President, Development

Peter is the primary developer of operations technology and data analysis. As a chief visionary on the Research and Development team, Peter works to generate innovative ideas for the continued development of processes and protocols.

Peter brings 17+ years’ experience in software development in the market research industry. He was previously at Opinion One, where he was integral in the development of research software systems covering a number of areas.

Peter has a BA in Mathematics, a BS in Physics, and a PhD in Physics, all from the University Cincinnati.

Martin Geraghty
Martin Geraghty

Vice President, Client Services

Geraghty Brings Experience from Roper Starch, GfK, MRI and IPSOS to ABX

Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the market research space including business development, methodology, product design, operations, client service, analysis and sales. He is a member the ABX Management Group with both client-service and operational responsibilities. Before joining ABX, Martin held senior management positions at Roper Starch Worldwide, GfK, MRI (Mediamark Research) and Ipsos. At Ipsos, he managed client service covering all aspects of the research process including research design. He managed the development and implementation of several brand and advertising measurement programs across a broad range of business sectors, helping clients maximize marketing objectives and return on investment. Prior to joining Ipsos, Martin was Vice President at MRI and was involved in business development, day-to-day management and long-term planning and growth for syndicated and custom programs. He also developed and updated the organization’s operational infrastructure to bring new and improved measurements to the marketplace. Before joining MRI, Martin was a Vice President of Operations at GfK. He managed researchers developing programs to monitor and improve methodologies. He played a key role in overseeing profit responsibility of client programs. Prior to his role at GfK, he was Vice President of Research and Operations at Roper Starch Worldwide.
Michael Alf

Co-Founder Ocucom and ABX, Vice President, Software Development

Michael Alf Brings 12 Years’ Software Engineering in the Market Research Industry

Michael is one Founders of Ocucom, of which ABX is a division, and has over 12 years’ of software engineering experience in the market research industry. As a Lead Software Engineer with Ocucom, he brings a unique blend of a technological background along with hands-on market research experience. Michael specializes in providing custom software solutions utilizing Ocucom’s dynamic software platform to address unique client needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Prior to starting with Ocucom, Michael was a senior software engineer at Opinion One in Cincinnati, where he was one of the principal architects of the OASIS 2 Survey Software Package. He also played a key role in developing a licensable solution to bring to the market place as well as handling the logistics of on-site training and support of end-client users.

Michael obtained his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Greg Tunstill

Co-Founder, Chief Information Officer

Greg Tunstill Leads the Creation of ABX Communications Tools

Greg Tunstill, a founder of ABX, is the Chief Information Officer responsible for ABX’s technical infrastructure and maintenance. He also leads the design and development of ABX’s communications tools, a critical component of its technology services.

Prior to joining ABX, Greg was Director of Network Operations of Opinion One since its inception in 1992. He designed and developed the communications systems that were the core of its data collection networks and was responsible for continuing development and implementation of information technologies. Prior to his position at Opinion One, he designed inventory control and expert systems for BellSouth field offices and worked as a consultant and independent contractor. In 1991 he joined Americom Research as a systems engineer where he advanced to Director of Network Operations and met members of the team that formed Opinion One.

Greg is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Julian Brown

Chief Technology Officer

Julian Brown is an ABX Founder and Chief Visionary for Strategic Planning

Julian brings 20+ years of software engineering and market research experience to ABX. As one of the Founders and in his position as Chief Technology Officer, Julian is the chief visionary responsible for strategic planning and development.

His primary day to day roles include management of software development, oversight of survey production, and lead architect for custom software development projects. As the principal technology architect, Julian adapts emerging technologies for use in market research. He is responsible for maintaining the “continuous development” philosophy.

Before becoming one of the Founders, Julian was Vice President, Software Engineering at Opinion One. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and development of Opinion One’s core technology and licensing products.

Prior to Opinion One, Julian worked for Americom Research, starting as a Software Engineer and progressing to Director, Software Development. While at Americom Research, Julian pioneered the design and creation of one of the market research industry’s first fully interactive computer-aided interviewing suites.

Julian received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Middle Tennessee State University.

Gary Getto


A Pioneer in Measuring Across all Media Types

Gary has an extensive background in product development, strategic planning, and sales/marketing. He is a frequent speaker to the advertising, marketing, and public relations communities.

Gary is a pioneer in efforts to measure and analyze the combined impact of news coverage, social media, and advertising communications on key business metrics, such as sales or product preferences, with ground-breaking work linking communications activity to business outcomes. He was also one of the first to apply artificial intelligence to better understand how communications impacts consumer behavior.

As part of these pioneering integrated measurements, the need to benchmark every ad and build a comprehensive database of advertising performance metrics for evaluating all advertising creative became clear. Gary has been part of the ABX management group that developed the methodology, technology, and criteria for measuring advertising performance globally, and at scale, in an affordable manner. 

Now Gary and all ABX partners work with communications leaders across a diverse set of industries to expand that understanding by incorporating the first-ever Gender Equality Index™, creative measurement solutions for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out-of-country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit™, Gaming, Audio and more.

Gary holds a B.S., in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Masters in Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology.

J. J. Klein​

Chairman & CEO

Developing Valid and Reliable Information through Syndicated and Custom Research

JJ Klein has devoted his entire career to developing more valid and reliable information through syndicated and custom longitudinal research programs for Fortune 500 companies. This extensive knowledge base enabled him to create and develop ABX, which now offers the most accurate normative database for advertising effectiveness measurement in the marketplace.

JJ brings more than 35 years of marketing, research, consulting, and technology experience in designing and developing methodologies and programs for long-term growth. He has exceptional strength in domestic and international new business development, strategic planning, and identifying and tracking consumer, retail, and industry trends.

Leadership in Top Global Research Firms

Early in his career, after attending City University in New York as a math and science major, JJ joined Simmons Market Research Bureau as a Project Director. Over time, he rose to Associate Executive Vice President. Among his accomplishments, JJ created the first online interactive data analysis and delivery system for agencies, media, institutions, client, and service companies.  

JJ and Bill Simmons then founded a new venture …Three Sigma Research Center. It was here that JJ, Chief Operating Officer, created the first major syndicated rating system for Newspapers in the U.S., which later became the Scarborough Report. Three Sigma Research was eventually sold back to Simmons; Simmons sold it to Scarborough; and then Scarborough was acquired by Nielsen.

Following the sale of Three Sigma, JJ joined Audits & Surveys Worldwide as a principal leading the sales tracking and market share audits for a broad range of retail and service establishments both domestically and internationally. Following the acquisition of Audits & Surveys by GfK, JJ joined Roper Starch as Executive Director, reporting directly to the Chairman.

Creation and Development of Ocucom™ and ABX™

In 2004, as he continued his industry visionary travels, all of JJ’s experience came together as he tackled new solutions for market research in the Internet age. He and four partners founded Ocucom™ and invented a research-proven, respondent-oriented Ocular™ approach to internet sampling and multi-modal interviewing methodology. For the first time, respondents could answer text-based questions within a visual communication world where the computer screen was the interviewer/communicator. Inventions continued such as Ocucom’s PreCast™, the first long-form video viewing solution in the industry.

Also, during this time, JJ’s early leadership in internet research methodology caught the eye of top-tier global research competitors. He ended up designing methodologies for their online survey capabilities.

Then, in early 2012, he formed ABX™ as an outgrowth of Ocucom. JJ had conceived the idea for ABX some 15 years prior but had to wait for internet maturation and online panel/sampling companies to evolve. ABX partners focused on JJ’s ABX concept and methodology by building an infrastructure and a 5-year formative database before opening to the market in 2018. The new company offered the first high-quality Ocular research system for all ads in all media types with detailed, never-before analytics; the first syndicated, all-media type ad effectiveness platform; results in 24-to-48 hours on dashboard, and significantly lower costs. At ABX, as at Ocucom, inventions have continued such as the expansion of the ABX syndicated program into the first-ever global solution, and the first Gender Equality Index™. Solutions have expanded to include creative measurement for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out of country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit, Gaming, Audio, and more.

A Career Devoted to Validity and Reliability in Market Research

JJ’s background brings together an extremely unique blend of extensive experience in designing and developing global and regional longitudinal research programs. His accomplishments include the design and initiation of programs and methods that produce more valid and reliable information. They also include contributions to the market research profession through association membership, speaking, writing, and presenting.

Like Nielsen for TV, Arbitron for Radio, and MRI for Magazine, JJ’s original design for the newspaper program continues as the Scarborough Report ratings standard for Newspaper.  Today, JJ leads ABX as a syndicated and custom research service for ad effectiveness and gender equality, which have quickly become the gold standards of their own.

Angela Jeffrey, APR

Vice President, Brand Management

National Award-Winning Veteran of Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing

Angela is an internationally known speaker and national award-winning veteran of public relations, advertising and marketing.  She has been a teacher and leader in the use of metrics to measure communications impact for over 20 years, especially at the intersection of PR and Advertising.

Angela is primarily responsible for all ABX marketing efforts, and for projects that involve PR or social media measurement. She is the primary driver of our collaboration with the prestigious Institute for Public Relations as we develop methods to measure the impact of PR and social media on advertising effectiveness.

Prior to joining ABX, Angela was Strategy Director at Salience Insight, (now CARMA), a global provider of PR effectiveness measurement. Previously, she was a Vice President at Surveillance Data, Inc., an international analytics powerhouse that specializes in predictive modeling. Angela continued as a key leader upon the sale of her division to VMS and helped develop Vantage, with Gary Getto, the first platform to measure the combined impact of PR and Advertising.

Angela graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Journalism and BBA in Marketing.



Diane Light Waight

Vice President, Business Development

Diane Light Waight handles Sales, Business Development, and Marketing for ABX

Diane has 20+ years of experience helping Marketing, Advertising, and PR decision-makers at global brands, media companies, and agencies increase their ROI by connecting and authentically engaging their target customers through Sales, Business Development. MarTech, AdTech, Big Data, Market Research, SaaS, eCommerce, and Integrated Marketing.

She is passionate about her family, entertainment, health & wellness, empowering women, and environmental sustainability.