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These Are the Food Ads That Most Resonated With Millennials Last Year

Millennials loved Little Caesar's, Papa John's, and KFC ads too.

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Pizza Hut/Facebook

Brands are trying incredibly hard these days to secure those sweet, sweet millennial dollars: They're willing to put kale where it doesn't belong, pour money into packaging that features mustaches and mason jars, and throw Sriracha on everything. Brands are also rethinking the way they advertise — with varying degrees of success. According to data collected by the New York Times, Wendy's wins for creating the television ad "most recalled by millennials" in 2014.

The NYT's index here demonstrates the number of times millennial viewers were more likely to recall an ad from a baseline established by the Times. The group tested were 3.38 more times likely to remember Wendy's ad than they were to recall any other ad — from a food company or not.

Last year, Wendy's launched a campaign for the return of its pretzel bacon cheeseburger. The series featured videos of music stars from the '80s and '90s. The musicians — which included R&B group Boyz II Men — sang lyrics that featured tweets about the burger. The NYT writes that millennials were also "3.38 times more likely to remember" the Wendy's ad starring Nick Lachey singing about the sandwich from 2013 than they were a "typical commercial."

Other restaurant ads that performed well with millennials include IHOP's National Pancake Day commercial, probably due to the fact that it promised viewers a free stack of pancakes. Unsurprisingly, commercials for stunts foods (millennials love stunt foods) also proved to be quite popular: Papa John's commercial about the chain's Frito-topped chili pizza was the fourth most memorable ad for the demographic. Little Caesar's commercial for its hybrid pretzel-crust pizza complete with a funny jingle came in sixth. While not a stunt food, KFC's repetitive (and somewhat annoying) ad for its chicken pot pie also scored big with viewers as did Subway's commercial for its $3 Italian hero. Check out the top five food ads of 2014 below:


Little Caesars

Papa John's