Beating the Competition: Which Super Bowl Ads Rose to the Occasion?

The Super Bowl is the biggest TV event every year, and despite all of the potential attention brands can garner by advertising, the game can also create a lot of noise that makes it more difficult for messages to come through. Or at least it does for brands not armed with the right data and insights to make the best ad buying and creative decisions.

Following this year’s Super Bowl, which advertisers were able to break through and make the biggest impact on audiences? iSpot Founder & CEO, Sean Muller, and Chief of Insights, Peter Daboll, hosted a webinar with Ad Age on Tuesday, Feb 9th to discuss the key takeaways from the game.

Key takeaways:

  • Fun and silly ads can work, as evidenced by Mountain Dew this year (among others)
  • Edgy humor wins, but there’s a line for consumers (Amazon’s “Alexa’s Body” spot was well-received but some viewers also found it inappropriate according to Ace Metrix Creative Assessment)
  • Purpose-driven messaging can sometimes yield purpose-driven blindspots (for example, Jeep’s two-minute ad was seen as “preachy”)
  • Creating an emotional response with your Super Bowl ad is a stronger pitch than trying to make consumers think

By digital share of voice (DSOV)*, iSpot measures these brand spots to be the game’s best this year:

1. Mountain Dew – Major Melon Bottle Count (21.78% DSOV, breakthrough* 2% above norm)

2. Amazon – Alexa’s Body (13.95% DSOV, breakthrough 3% above norm)

3. Jeep – The Middle (10.64% DSOV, breakthrough 3% above norm)

Among some of the other superlatives from the game, see below.

Funniest Ad: Cheetos – It Wasn’t Me

  • Digital SOV: 1.56%
  • Breakthrough: 19% above the norm
  • Top Emotion*: Funny
  • Single Best Thing: Characters (32%)

Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Shaggy created the strongest emotional reaction around funny (8.4) for the game while using Shaggy’s 2000 hit “It Wasn’t Me” to narrate Kunis evading accusations of stealing Kutcher’s Cheetos.

Most Empowering Ad: Indeed – The Rising

  • Digital SOV: 0.23%
  • Breakthrough: 5% above the norm
  • Top Emotion: Inspiring
  • Relevance was 16% above the norm for Super Bowl spots this year

Rather than ignore the current state of the world and the difficult job search environment, Indeed showcased how the brand is here to help make finding a new career easier. The positive messaging was found to be inspiring (6.7), as well as heartfelt (4.8) and powerful (3.7).

Rookie of the Year: Bass Pro Shops – Get Back to Nature

  • Digital SOV: 0.12% 
  • Breakthrough: 8% above the norm
  • Top Emotion: Soothing
  • Single Best Thing: Visual Scenes (38%)

Bass Pro Shops went for a straightforward ad for its Super Bowl moment, leaning into its link to the outdoors to emphasize enjoying life and nature more. The visual scenes and message both stood out to audiences.

Watch the full webinar for more data and insights like these around the Super Bowl and TV ad measurement best practices in general.

*Digital Share of Voice (DSOV): The percentage of social actions and earned views generated by the spot compared to all others. This is the primary measurement used to rank the performance of Super Bowl ads.

*Breakthrough:  Measures an ad’s ability to stand out from the clutter and is an average of the Ace Metrix Attention and Likeability scores.

*Top Emotion: We measure 57 emotional reactions to an ad derived from viewer verbatim comments. The Top Emotion represents the reaction with the strongest signal and is at minimum stronger than 75% of all ads for that specific emotion.