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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.

No, The Super Bowl Ads Weren’t ‘Too Emotional’

We know one big Super Bowl winner already – hip-hop legend Missy Elliott has seen an 1000% boost to her iTunes sales after she joined Katy Perry for the half-time show. For the brands who paid to advertise, the picture is inevitably less clear. After all, the short-term benefits won’t be known for weeks – and the long-term benefit of famous advertising is best measured over years.

Missy Elliott

That isn’t stopping commentators weighing in, of course. Consensus has it that 2015 saw a dreary crop of ads, and we wouldn’t necessarily argue. What’s more concerning is where the finger is being pointed. In a Forbes piece yesterday, Derek Rucker of the Kellogg School made a curious comparison. “There were lots of ads trying to pull at heartstrings with different levels of success. There was less of your funny, humorous, in-your-face advertising [in this game], and clearly a lot more emotional advertising.”

This, according to Rucker and Jennifer Rooney, the piece’s writer, was a problem. Tilt the balance of ads too far to the sombre and it stops being congruent with the Super Bowl’s party atmosphere. It’s a good point. The trouble is, Rucker’s apparent distinction between “emotional advertising” and “funny, humorous, in-your-fact advertising” is just not right. Continue reading

Super Bowl XLIX: From Sadvertising To Dadvertising?

The game was close – the advertising battle really wasn’t. At least that’s if you take USA Today’s Ad Meter rankings seriously – and as an overnight measure, we do. While they aren’t perfect, their simple measurement of how likeable an ad was stands as a reasonable instant proxy for a more in-depth emotional assessment. According to USA Today’s scores, Budweiser is – yet again – the Super Bowl champion, romping to a win with a direct sequel to last year’s “Puppy Love” in the form of “Lost Dog”.

“Lost Dog” tweaks the formula a little: a slowed-down cover version rather than a famous original song, a new antagonist in the form of a wolf, and last year’s hint of a love story is shunted aside so the ad can go big on its dog-horse bromance. Will the changes help “Lost Dog” maintain the five-star status of previous ads in the sequence, once we test it more rigorously? You’ll have to pop into our results Webinar on the 17th to find out. But we wouldn’t bet against it. Continue reading

Super Bowl XLVIII: The Year Of The Horse (And Dog)

The ads for Super Bowl XLVIII got off to an unfortunate start: Ford’s “No Ordinary Commercial”, which was, you guessed it, an ordinary commercial. A slick, insincere voiceover hammering home a mind-numbing message – something something double the something. Its gimmick was it repeated itself again, at double the length and a few more bells and whistles.

“No Ordinary Commercial” is everything we think advertising shouldn’t be: a dull rational message with the barest sprinkling of spectacle on top. It’s a cynical treatment based on a losing proposition – the idea that consumers make decisions based on careful System 2 recall of messages, not on the System 1 emotional associations ads leave. There ought to be a better way. Continue reading

Puppies And Postmodernists: Are The Super Bowl Trailers Too Clever By Half?

This year’s crop of Super Bowl teasers were the most self-referential yet. It’s clever – but is it smart?

Something had to give. Super Bowl ads are now so minutely analysed, measured, anticipated and discussed that this year one way to stand out is to get postmodern and make your strategy a comment on the nature of Super Bowl ads (as well as, you know, just getting on and making one).

It started with VW’s knowing teaser, with German engineers analysing what makes a great Super Bowl ad – and VW packing all those elements into a 60-second spot. Cute, of course, but perhaps too incident-packed to work emotionally. Continue reading

7 Things To Look Out For In The Super Bowl Ads

Every year, the ads produced for the Super Bowl are among the year’s most memorable and emotional. But advertising doesn’t stand still – the tricks and techniques that work one year won’t necessarily work next time. That’s not to say you can’t learn anything from the past, though. In this piece, drawing on our FeelMore50TM analysis of 2013’s most emotional ads, we take a look at the seven trends we think will turn up at the Super Bowl next weekend.

Crowdsourced ads: Doritos’ crowdsourcing its ads last year led to two emotional winners (“Goat 4 Sale” and “Fashionista Dad”). But drawing on the crowd doesn’t just mean tapping its creativity – H&M is asking customers to vote on different endings to its saucy Super Bowl spot. Continue reading