Why You Remember Certain TV Ads

Nicknamed Wendy, Melinda Lou Morse stars in Wendy's ads. (Image credit: YouTube)

If you watch live TV, ads are unavoidable and usually not very memorable. But there are always a few that break through. Why?

There are five common characteristics that memorable ads  share, according to a new Nielsen report. Ads with humor, relatable characters, a simple storyline, conversation rather than a voiceover and emotion tend to be remembered.

"The ability to create a true winning commercial is an undeniable art form, but there’s science behind it too," Joe Stagaman, Nielsen TV ad analyst said in a statement.

For instance, the latest top-remembered ad is a 30-second spot for Wendy's, the fast food chain founded by Dave Thomas and known for its square burgers. In this commercial, Thomas' daughter talks about the freshness of the chain's beef. There is no fancy filmwork — just a middle-aged woman who surely knows about the products of her namesake restaurant  chain. 

Wendy now personally owns more than 30 of the franchises and became the spokesperson for the chain in 2010. 

Is it funny? Not really, aside from an opening joke about Wendy's Frosty treats, but an awful lot of moms can relate to Wendy's talk about the importance of fresh food and her fond memories of her dad. The "That's Wendy's Way" ad series featuring downhome dialogue with Wendy began running last April and now has its own website.

This story was provided by TechNewsDaily, sister site to LiveScience.

Leslie Meredith
Leslie Meredith is a contributor to Live Science. She has a bachelor's degree from UCLA in psychology and has directed tourism and ski publications for the Salt Lake Visitor & Convention Bureau and managed promotions and events for Sunset Magazine.