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.

 

 

Super Bowl Ad Testing: WHY We’re Testing Every Ad LIVE on Sunday

It’s almost time for Super Bowl, which means it’s almost time for our groundbreaking LIVE testing of every Super Bowl ad. As you might have heard, we’ve teamed up with ZappiStore to test the ads in real time. During the match, our Facebook page will be hosting several five-minute live webcasts bringing you up to date on each quarter’s best performing ads (and maybe even a bit of game-appropriate content too..!). Meanwhile, we’ll be posting results as they come in on our Twitter, and writing analysis right here on the blog.

What you might not know is why we’re doing this. Continue reading

Super Bowl Ad Testing: Live like you’ve never seen it done before!

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Everyone’s excited to watch the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots battle it out on February 5th to decide who will be crowned Super Bowl LI Champs.  But that’s not all we are excited about. We also tune in to see which brands will leave us talking about their advertising the most.  Who’s going to make us LOL, smirk or even cry, we will find out in a few short weeks.

There is no shortage of updates in the industry from AdWeek’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker and Ad Age’s Ad Chart  providing details on the brands, the spots (as they are leaked or posted) and the agencies working to the 11th hour on the creative. There are even reports of Fox rejecting an ad for being “too political”, so the advertiser is going to air it online the day before the game.  Now that’s an interesting way to harness digital to maximize media spend!

There is always punditry and “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” on which brands fumbled and which ones threw touchdowns. USA Today’s Ad Meter has a second-by-second ticker counting down to the moment consumers can sign up to be panelists rating the ads. They publish the rankings the next day.

Once again BrainJuicer and our research automation platform partner, ZappiStore, are suiting up for the game to test the Super Bowl Ads. But this time, we are going be testing all of the Super Bowl ads LIVE (using the ZappiStore Pro platform) and reporting  the results in REALTIME,  quarter by quarter.

Alex Hunt and Brent Snider from BrainJuicer and Julio Franco from ZappiStore will video stream commentary on FaceBook Live from our “sports-like anchor desk” in New York as the results come in each quarter!  Tom Ewing, who is usually comfortably ensconced in the UK, will be Live Blogging in New York with the team as the game unfolds.

We’re also doing a joint webinar  the next day to showcase the results so please check it out!

We’re very curious to find out which ad from Super Bowl LI will top last year’s Dorito Dogs by PepsiCo [top ad of the Super Bowl 2016 ranking in FeelMore50™].  But more than that, we want to show that the right kind of ad testing can be highly effective building and measuring 5-Star marketing, and identifying ads that are most likely to drive profitable growth for the brands with the courage to make them.

Join us Sunday night, Febraury 5th for FeelMore50 and Super Bowl LI! Live and in RealTime.

FeelMore50™ Ad of the Moment: Hungry Hounds Against the Forces of Authority

Welcome back to another FeelMore50 “Ad of the Moment” spotlight! With the Super Bowl just around the corner we felt it’d only be fitting to shine a light on 2016’s FeelMore50 Super Bowl winner – Super Bowl 50’s most emotional ad of the night – PepsiCo’s Doritos “Dogs”.

This 30 second spot that ran during the third quarter, keeps it short, simple and funny.  The three dogs yearn for bags of Doritos they see inside the grocery store. The only problem, no dogs allowed! Watching the dogs try multiple tactics to sneak into the store, you cannot help but laugh at the whit of these furry creatures. And with a fun, playful soundtrack in the background it keeps the viewer feeling upbeat and cheerful throughout. The peak of emotion comes in when the Dogs create a successful plan to get their Doritos – and you can’t leave out the memorable reaction from the cashier.

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This crowdsourced ad (in collaboration with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners) keeps a light-hearted and humourous theme throughout, leaving viewers with high levels of happiness and surprise, earning it an Emotion-into-Action™ score of 90.90 and a well-deserved 5-Star rating. PepsiCo’s Doritos ‘Dogs’ is an example of the best of brands striving to make consumers feel something, which translates to long term brand growth.

It’s a shame Doritos has ended their “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign – which was built on short crowdsourced skits – but they sure ended it on a high note.

Each year, BrainJuicer tests the Super Bowl ads – an event for which brands are known to part from the persuasion-based models of traditional advertising and take a chance at developing emotional, truly fame building creative – with its validated, award-winning BrainJuicer Ad Testing methodology. If a consumer feels nothing, they will do nothing. If they feel more, they’ll buy more.

A big congratulations to Doritos on their 2016 Super Bowl win, and with Super Bowl 2017 just around the corner we can’t help but ask who will take home the top spot this year. To find out join us 5 February (the night of the Super Bowl) as we live test the ads of the Super Bowl to reveal their emotional scores in real time! And join us the following day for our fifth annual FeelMore50 Super Bowl webinar.