Super Bowl Ad Winners and Losers

It’s that time again! Super Bowl Sunday was last weekend, and while there was a close fought game on, we were focused on another beloved part of the game’s excitement…the commercials. This year a record number of viewers tuned in, the broadcast produced a whopping 49.7 overnight rating which was higher than the previous long standing record of 49.1 from 1982. The record number of viewers was a good sign for the advertisers with deep enough pockets for a spot this year, as a 30-second commercial costs a jaw dropping 4.5 million! We ran a GutCheck Instant Research Group during the game to find out which commercials won big with consumers. 

No Peeking!

A growing trend among super bowl day advertisers is to release the ads early via popular video sites like YouTube. This creates a free viral buzz around the ads before the game, but it also has the unintended effect of spoiling the surprise for some. Many of our respondents felt that part of the super bowl advertising fun is seeing the commercials for the first time during the game. While most admitted that they did peek at many of these early release ads, they also said they prefer the surprise of a new ad during the game.

IRG Respondent

Of course they are entitled to do whatever they wish with their ads but personally, for me, it ruins the surprise of seeing them for the first time during the game. I realize they spend a ton of money on those ads and they want as much attention as they can get to justify the cost.

Female, 42, IL
IRG Respondent

The only commercial I saw early was for Mexican Avocados. I really liked it and thought it was funny 🙂 I personally did not see anything else “early,” however, my Fiancé has mentioned a few times tonight as we are watching that he already saw the ad. I think it ruins a bit of the fun during the Super Bowl to see some of these early. I think a lot of people look forward to the Super Bowl commercials, so it’s nice to keep the funny ones a surprise.

Female, 25, PA

Heartstrings, Puppy Dogs and Fast Turtles

The appeal of this year’s commercials came from many directions. As usual, some ads were intended strictly to tickle your funny bone, as could be seen by the Doritos flying pig, the Esurance Lindsey Lohan and Breaking Bad spots, and the Mexican Avocados first draft ad. While other companies decidedly pulled on our emotions with ads like the Budweiser lost dog and Nissan’s with Dad spot.

Also, this year’s lineup was certainly packed with an all-star cast of celebrities from “Angry” Liam Neeson to Kim Kardashian to Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler one-upping each other. Even the odd pair of Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi made an appearance.

With all of this competition for our advertising attention, which ads came out on top and which ads were considered a flop? We turned to our Instant Research Group respondents to find out.

IRG Respondent

Budweiser! I’m a sucker for the puppy & clydesdales. It’s so heartwarming, I have to admit I cried a little. I watch it over & over again on YouTube.

Female, 32, NY 
IRG Respondent

The Mexican avocado ad.  The first draft ever.  I liked it when they chose the Dodo bird and it fell over. It was a good fun ad.

Male, 55, WA
IRG Respondent

Nothing beats the day with dad ad by Nissan. It was heartwarming. It brought back memories. And, it included a very classic song the Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin. Nissan advertisers hit a home run on this one.

Female, 53, IL
IRG Respondent

The best one that I have seen was the Dorito’s commercial.  The man was trying to avoid someone sitting next to him, then saw a beautiful woman, brought out his bag of Dorito’s and then discovered the woman had a baby with who he had to share the Dorito’s with while the woman slept.

Male, 64, SD 

Missed It by That Much

With a few clear winners showing through in our research, we also wanted to find out which ads missed the mark. Our respondents gave some very clear indicators on this category.

IRG Respondent

The least appealing ad had to be the one for Jublia toenail fungus treatment. I mean, really?! That’s not something I care to even THINK about!

Male, 42, WA
IRG Respondent

The least appealing ad is the one where two ladies are singing push it. This is an annoying ad to me.

Female, 53, IL
IRG Respondent

I can’t stand Kim Kardashian. I realize the ad was meant to be a satire of her “all-about-Kim” lifestyle but I am sooo sick of her and the rest of her family.

Female, 42, IL

What It All Means

While the feedback from our respondents on whether or not they would purchase the products advertised varied greatly, one thing was clear; everyone loves watching the ads.

In conclusion, we found that many of the ads this year found their way into people’s hearts and will be the source of much water cooler talk this week.  The clear take-a-way was that if someone loved the ad they were not shy to talk about it. And that’s a big win for the advertisers.  Conversely, if the ad fell short, folks were quick to turn their backs on the ad, even so much as to purposely avoid the product based on the single 30 second airing.

What does it mean? To us it means that it is always a great idea to get a quick consumer read before you invest a huge amount of money. Here at GutCheck, we offer exactly that capability. We are a global, online agile market research solution that enables our clients to get quick consumer reads to answer business questions as they come up. Whether it’s scheduled research or an un-planned question, we give you the insights and confidence you need to react and move your business forward. Refining your advertisements with a quick consumer read helps ensure they will be top performers come game time.

Would you like to view the full executive summary report on our Instant Research Group findings? Download it here.

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