Commentary

Live! Instant Analysis Of Super Bowl Ad Winners/Losers

Even people who like football but hate advertising watch the Super Bowl ads because they’re sometimes bright and funny and new. But it’s hard to impress.

Those ads are interesting to me since so much of the Super Bowl business now involves pre-game sampling online and post-game sharing.

Despite the $5.5 million per 30-second spot price tag, a lot of these things will be clunkers. Some marketers are going to seem like idiots on Monday.

This year, they may know they are idiots (or geniuses) a lot quicker.

Brand strategy and research company BrainJuicer has scientifically analyzed “live” viewer reaction to Super Bowl ads for the last three years. This month, not only is it doing live testing, it will be giving results — live. 

BrainJuicer will present live analysis of ads that work and don’t on Twitter, on its Facebook Live  page and on its corporate blog and other social media addresses. It is a first for them and first for anybody that I’m aware of.

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Why do it?

The blog says, in part, it’s “because LIVE is one of the themes of this year’s Super Bowl. Snickers are showing a live ad starring Star Wars actor Adam Driver – the first live ad at Super Bowl for decades. And Hyundai are making and editing an ad during the game to be screened just after. In a world where content moves faster than ever, testing has to match it.”

Alex Hunt, the president of the international BrainJuicer, based in London with offices in New York, says that particularly for the Super Bowl, emotional response is the big ticket. Other motives, like introducing a brand, aren’t very relevant.

“We found in the Super Bowl, because advertisers are liberated from the shackles of typical advertising constructs, that the average ad is more effective than the typical ad shown elsewhere. We have proven that when people feel more, they buy more.”

Typically, on a scale of 1 to 5 that BrainJuicer uses, just 5% of all ads get a 5 — the best there is. For the Super Bowl, that rises to 13%. Typically, half of all ads get a 1 or 2, and that means they don’t reach a threshold that gives advertisers a return on investment that exceeds the price of the advertising.

The Super Bowl ads do better but many of them fail, too. The bottom end misses, he says, are the natural result of riskier attempts the Super Bowl seems to attract.

The live testing, Hunt says, will give instant analysis, which gives BrainJuicer a story to tell in its business sector.

“But our mission is a slightly broader and not so self-serving,” he quickly adds. “You know, 2016 was an appalling year for insights, right? Election after election, from Brexit to the presidential election, and yet we’re unwilling to accept that the traditional way of asking questions, based on persuasion, based on understanding of how people make decisions ... isn’t up to scratch.

“Trying to promote ourselves and our own business, but we’re also trying to promote technology that can better predict human behavior.  This live testing is a way of helping the insight industry recover from what was a pretty poor showing in 2016.”

BrainJuicer assembled a demographically relevant 80-person panel of Super Bowl ad watchers who sees the ads on the day of the game, in their homes, in a controlled situation. That is, even if they are watching the game, they see the ads separately.

Then it uses its proprietary Emotion-into-Action (E-i-A)  index. The consumer response calculates the numerical score for emotion: measuring surprise, happiness, sadness, neutrality, contempt fear and anger to three different levels of intensity.

The EIA score determines the star rating. Hunt says a 5 rating is pretty much “a guarantee of a positive return on your investment. An ad that isn't 4 or 5 star for the Super Bowl will be hard-pressed to deliver an ROI.”

It will be fun to watch. The results will probably get dumped on those various BrainJuicer social places quarter by quarter.

You could bet on 'em, too, if the game is a blowout.

pj@mediapost.com

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