FeelMore50 2016: UPS Keeps On Truckin’

Great news for fans of advertising that makes people feel more and buy more! The 2016 FeelMore50 ranking launched yesterday– our annual list of the global Top 50 most emotional ads. Congratulations to Doritos, whose hilarious “Dogs” takes the top spot – proof once again that the Super Bowl is where US advertisers invest most heavily in making audiences happy.

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But this year’s FeelMore50 goes a lot deeper than just the global ranking. Our new look website also features micro-rankings for the first time, looking at the most successful ads not just by region but by format (short-form, long-form and digital-only), by industry sector, and by event (from the Rio Olympics through the UK Christmas Ads to this year’s Super Bowl). Over the next week on the blog we’ll be spotlighting some of the most intriguing ads and trends we’ve found, starting with our #1 winner in the digital category (and #2 overall), UPS’ Wishes Delivered: Driver Training Camp. Continue reading

Get Ready For The 2016 FeelMore 50!

Next Tuesday we’ll be unveiling our latest set of FeelMore50 results – the Top 50 most emotional ads released or given awards in 2016, from all around the world. Visitors can expect laughing horses and disguised dogs, stressed Moms and obsessed Dads, and plenty of other routes to Feeling taken by advertisers over the past year.

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This year for the first time we’re also including our new Micro Rankings – sub-charts broken down by media, so you can see the most emotional and effective long-form, short-form and purely digital advertising. We’re doing this because there’s never been a better time to take a hard look at the emotional efficiency and long-term branding potential of digital ads in particular. Continue reading

How To Have A Great Super Bowl Debut

Super Bowl debutants have a big job to do. They have to hold their own against some of the biggest brands on the planet, and they have to introduce themselves to a super-size audience for the first time.And just like new athletes, some of them choke under the big game spotlight.

The mistake many of them make is to cram too much information in about their brand, desperate to get all their features and benefits out there. But the Super Bowl audience doesn’t want facts, it wants to be entertained. It’s a brilliant opportunity for brands to grab a bit of Fame, Feeling and Fluency. Since surplus Feeling (positive emotion higher than would be expected given a brand’s size) is the predictor of future growth, aiming for Feeling is more important than ever if you’re a small brand.

Two debutants particularly impressed us this year. One of them was bread brand Kings’ Hawaiian, which managed a 5-Star ad on its very first outing. It got this spectacular result by taking a leaf from the much-admired Doritos playbook, using comedy to communicate the fact that the brand exists, is delicious and highly desirable.

The other was Australia’s Yellow Tail Wines. We had a particular eye on this ad. One of our exciting bits of news last year was the opening of our Australian office, and Ed Harrison and his team there were keen to see how an Australian brand would do. The ad made the morning news down under, though reactions on Twitter were rather mixed – was a midly lecherous roo really the cultural ambassador America deserved?

They needn’t have worried. “Pet The Roo” got a strong 4-Star rating – excellent for a first-time advertiser. And the roo was very much the star, if our consumer verbatims were anything to go by. “The kangaroo was so amusing!” “I wanna kiss the roo!” “I loved the kangaroo he was funny”. (Though one sharp-eyed participant was less sure: “I feel the kangaroo was fake.”).

Some of the roo’s fellow countrymen may cringe,  but it looks like Yellow Tail have a great distinctive asset on their hands (or paws). And for brands wanting to make a splash, the message is clear. First impressions count, and if you’re introducing your brand to a big audience, make ’em laugh. In a Super Bowl dominated by humorous ads, there was probably no better time for debutants to shine.

The End Of Sadvertising: Super Bowl LI LIVE Ad Test – Third Quarter Report

In recent years, a pillar of Super Bowl advertising has been the sentimental ad. Usually – but not always – built around telling a moving story, sentimental ads work by tapping different types of happiness – awe, joy and particularly uplifting emotion. They also often toy with negative emotions, and if they resolve those feelings of sadness into happiness, such ads can be highly emotionally dynamic (which tends to mean better sharing and interaction rates).

But 2017 is the year the ‘sadvertising’ tide went out.

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So far only one inspirational ad has scored 5 stars – Honda’s collection of yearbook photos of the famous, telling us to follow our dreams. Close behind it was Coca-Cola, whose ad, placed right after the live national anthem performance, celebrated the diversity of America and its mix of cultures and languages. This Coke ad has aired before – causing controversy and scoring poorly – but familiarity has bred contentment (and perhaps the placement was better). This year the formula clicked and Coke’s “Together Is Beautiful” walked away with a 4-Star score.

Coke hasn’t been alone in pulling emotional levers this year, of course, and several other ads have come close to matching it. One of them is Google’s “Home”, an ad for its household devices tech which riffed on the theme of coming home and netted a 4-Star score. And Pepsi LIFEWTR’s joyous and colourful ad tapped yet another type of happiness – sheer aesthetic pleasure – to get 4 Stars once again. Coke’s second ad – another repeat, celebrating Coke and Food – also pressed aesthetic buttons to get the highest score, 5-Stars.

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But not every sentimental ad is a winner. Michelin’s “I Need You” had the ingredients for a tear-jerking commercial but three separate stories in thirty seconds made it a choppy watch and left viewers rather cold: it could only muster 2 Stars.

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And those ads which tried to tell powerful emotional stories risked being left high and dry at a Super Bowl which has been far more about chuckling than choking up. In recent years Budweiser has been the king of sentimental Super Bowl storytelling with a string of 5-Star winners for its Clydesdale theme ads. Its 2017 commercial, “Born The Hard Way”, told the story of founder Thomas Busch’s arrival in America as an immigrant. Dogged by controversy – was it a pointed comment on recent political events? – the ad has ended up scoring just below the 3-Star threshold.

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Meanwhile the cute and humorous ads keep racking up 5-Star scores. If you want a single take-away that sums up the turnaround in Super Bowl advertising this year, here it is: Budweiser got 2-Stars. Sexy Mr Clean got 5.

Year Of The Celebrity Ad?: Super Bowl LI LIVE – Half Time Report

Emotional advertising isn’t all about emotion – while Feeling is the thing advertising does best to build brands, advertising is also a great opportunity to build Fluency. What is Fluency? It’s making your brand easier to recognise, easier to process mentally, and easier to choose quickly. You build Fluency by creating and using what Professor Byron Sharp calls “distinctive assets” – anything that brings your brand quickly to mind. Logos, slogans, songs, shapes, even colors can be distinctive assets.

The Super Bowl is always a carnival of distinctive assets – but there are no hard and fast guidelines on which are successful. Take celebrities, for instance. With ZappiStore Pro as well as testing ads in real time we can tag them to find out which themes are coming through. And this year a lot of ads have used celebrities. Celebs can be great drivers of emotion and also Fluency – that is, if you can consistently use a celebrity as a brand asset so that when people see them in a commercial they instantly think of you.

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Using a celebrity can take your ad to heights of Feeling and Fluency. It can also backfire. This year’s Super Bowl has seen examples of both. Intel landed Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady for an ad showing off some snazzy new visual effects tech. With the Pats down 21-3 right now, Brady has bigger things to worry about than how well his ad tested – but sadly it was a 1-Star clunker. Just getting a celebrity doesn’t necessarily make your ad great.

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On the other hand, Buick’s ad showing a school football game where wishes come true made great use of its celebrities, using supermodel Miranda Kerr not just for her own sake, but to provide the ad with its witty punchline. It got our highest rating – a 5-Star touchdown triumph!

Whether Buick can turn Kerr (or football player Cam Newton) into distinctive assets for those brands depends on whether and how well the brand uses them in future ads and outside the Super Bowl. But a 5-Star ad is a great potential start. Other celebrity ads which nailed 5-Star status were Honda’s clever “Yearbooks” (an inspirational ad with a great central device) and Tide’s brilliant fourth wall breaking ad with commentator Terry Bradshaw racing to get a stain out of his shirt.

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Of course if you can’t hire a distinctive asset, you can always make one. Yellow Tail Wines of Australia got a 4-Star ad which made heavy use of a comical kangaroo mascot. For a small brand, that’s a great result – an instantly memorable asset which won’t demand heavy repeat appearance fees!

Good “Romance”: Super Bowl LI LIVE Ad Test – First Quarter Report

Humor has always had a big part to play in Super Bowl advertising, and the last few years have seen the most emotional ads shift between commercials to make you laugh, and commercials that bring a happy tear to your eye.

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Laughs and sentiment are both great routes to strong emotional ads, and both approaches are on show tonight. But one brand has sat this Super Bowl out: Doritos, whose 30-second comedy skits have been a reliable highlight for the last several years. They went out on a high – “Dogs” topped our list of Super Bowl ads in 2016. Can any brand tonight take Doritos’ crown? A Media Week poll before the game suggested that humor was the number one thing viewers were looking forward to – could brands deliver?

The first quarter saw a few brands step up and try. Aflac Insurance were first up, with an ad starring their distinctive goose mascot, but alas it laid something of an egg, landing with a relatively poor 2-star score as its dark comedy missed the mark.

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But far better was to come.Super Bowl veterans Wonderful Pistachios put an elephant on a treadmill to get a 4-Star score with a 15 second ad – it’s unusual and impressive for such a short commercial to do so well.

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The first 5-Star emotional winner of 2017 went to Skittles, though, whose “Romance” ad used the 30-second format perfectly. A vital but discreet role for the brand, and a hilarious series of twists added up to a Super Bowl winner. Congratulations Mars and Skittles! But there are plenty more ads to come, and we’re sure there will be more 5-Star winners among them.

 

 

Emotion + Culture = Prosperity!

Adorable snowmen, woolly hats and scarves, and a heart-warming story of togetherness… this ad from China could be a typical Western Christmas-themed ad. But the fireworks might give you a clue that this Coca-Cola commercial is something a little different. And if you’re Chinese, you’ll know exactly what. The Year of the Rooster is upon us, and this Coke ad is a terrific example of how to mix universal emotion and specific cultural cues to brilliant effect.

Great celebrations demand great advertising, and the Chinese New Year is no exception. With billions of people celebrating, the event deserves more than the standard social media greetings most brands confine themselves to. It’s an ideal time for a big brand to invest in a big, emotional campaign which can build Fame, Feeling and Fluency. This is the opportunity Coca-Cola wants to take. Continue reading