The most watched and anticipated commercials of the year—and certainly the most expensive—air during the Super Bowl, and each is met with scrutiny and judgement. Consider the response on social media and late-night talk shows for beloved icon Bruce Springsteen’s first foray into advertising. After nearly six decades without an appearance in a commercial, The Boss stunted for Jeep, in what many critics consider to be the best of the Super Bowl LV bunch.
Certainly the goal of advertisers is to reach many consumers as effectively as possible, and they’re willing to pay the minimum $5.5 million for 30 seconds to do so. Despite reports of viewer fails, and the worst ratings since 2007, 96.4 million people tuned in. Even though it’s less than the expected 100 million, that’s still a lot of eyes for those attention-grabbing commercials.
Did advertisers get their money’s worth? Through advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and facial coding, the emotion-AI company Realeyes analyzed and assessed each of the commercials that aired during Super Bowl LV.
The ads were graded on three criteria which “factors in three critical elements captured via front-facing cameras, from opt-in viewers as they watch the ads on their personal mobile devices or computers.” There were an average of 165 number of participants per ad.
- Capture: Ability to capture audience attention in the first seconds.
- Retain: Ability to retain the audience throughout the ad.
- Encode: Ability to encode the brand message into the brain through emotional engagement.
But this year’s grades were middling, with an average Realeyes Attention Quality Score of 4.3 out of a possible 10. That’s a significant decline from 5.5 in 2018, and with three years of declining scores, the Quality Score is near its bottom.
So who won? According to Realeyes, the winner among the 66 commercials that aired during Super Bowl LV was “Team Anthony Anderson vs. Team Mama T-Mobile Big Game,” which garnered a grade of 9. Still, the eight highest-performing ads, with Quality Scores between 7 and 10, performed particularly well because of their strength in encoding.
SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
The highest-performing ad strength in encoding refers to “the relative attentive emotion response, predictive of brand memorability and likeability,” Realeyes reported.
The remaining top performing ads had quality scores of 7:
- Reddit’s five-second ad, created in less than a week which simply stated “Wow, this actually worked … If you’re reading this, our bet paid off” and was sparked by the GameStop stock spike initiated by a Reddit forum
- “Super Bowl 2021 Amazon Prime Coming to America II“
- “H&R Block 2021 Commercial File Virtually”
- “Join The First All-Civilian Space Mission Inspiration4“
- “Super Bowl 2021 NFL As One“
- “Awkwafina plays her favorite Nintendo Switch games–Mario Kart 8 Deluxe“
- “Super Bowl 2021 Rocket Mortgage Pretty Sure“
For the record, Springsteen’s Jeep commercial scored a 4 and was ranked 38.
This year’s encoding (attentive emotion response) score was 42, and Realeyes reports, “the entire set of Super Bowl video creative performed below average (50) versus all other ads in Realeyes norms database of nearly 30,000 ads.”
Three of the eight high-performing ads ran 60 seconds, which is rare because most commercials “struggle to retain attentive audiences for more than 15 seconds,” Realeyes noted.
The company’s final analysis concluded that it “was a missed opportunity for advertisers who struggled to come out with clarity and boldness amid a challenging environment.” Realeyes cited, “lots of middle and low” performing ads, and few high-performing ads, “based on creative quality and impact on attention.”
Realeyes noted that, “consumer sentiment can be a moving target in times like these,” but it’s still critical that advertisers make an impact, and that it’s up to them to test their ads for “attention resonance to ensure they maximize the tremendous investment in media, creative, and orchestration logistics.”