If Super Bowl Viewers Built Their Own Ad, What Would It Look Like?

Super Bowl ads are an iconic part of American culture. At a cost of upwards of $5 million an ad with a viewership of over 100 million, these ads are a cornerstone in American marketing. Often times, Super Bowl ads set the tone for ads for throughout the year. 

But what makes a compelling advertisement in such a crowded space? I went directly to the audience to nail down what exactly the viewers liked, loved, and hated. 

Based on wisdom of the crowd (our own research), here are the best Super Bowl ads of 2018 as well as content facets the ultimate Super Bowl ad should include.

Top 10 Ads of 2018 Based on Data

Based on over 6000 respondents and a score based on whether respondents loved or hated each ad, here are the top ten commercials from the 2018 Super Bowl.

  1. M&Ms 
  2. Toyota
  3. Amazon Echo
  4. Verizon
  5. Budweiser
  6. Jeep
  7. NFL
  8. Winter Olympics NBC
  9. Doritos vs. Mountain Dew
  10. Turkish Airlines



What Our Ad Analysis Can Tells Us About the Ultimate Crowd-Sourced Super Bowl Ad

1. Humor and Inspiration are Key

From depictions of how your product is used to customer testimonials to promotional offers, there are several directions you can take for selling your product in a commercial. If you’re looking to make the greatest impact on your audience, consider making the ad inspirational or humorous in messaging. Of the top ten Super Bowl ads this year, six were humorous and four were inspirational.

Inspirational ads tend to have slightly stronger appeal, and their claims are more often believed, but humorous ads perform better across all other measures.

2. Female or Male Lead

Females lead in only three of our top ten ads but the second-best performing ad (by lovers score) — Good Odds — has a female lead. While the majority of top ads don’t include women, the majority of Super Bowl ads don’t have women in them. As this changes in future years, we’ll have a better idea of how they perform against ads with a male lead. 

3. Celebrity or Not

Six out of ten of the top ads had celebrities in them, and three of these had more than one celebrity. There’s a high degree of overlap between humorous ads and ads with celebrities.

 Ads with celebrities performed best across most key measures especially viewers’s connection with the brand. To pack a punch in your ad in 2018, include a celebrity. However, if it’s important that your audience trust the claims your ad is making, we recommend you omit the celebrity. Viewers were more likely to trust claims made in commercials without celebrities.

4. Sexy Doesn’t Work

None of the top ads were tagged as “sexy” from survey respondents. While sexy ads for the Super Bowl are somewhat common, unless they’re bringing in a level of nostalgia like this highly-rated Pepsi ad, they’re probably not going to perform as well as they might have in the past.

5. Social Issues

Three of the top ten ads were social in theme — the Budweiser ad for water in US natural disaster areas, the Verizon ad thanking first responders to emergencies, and Good Odds — the Paralympic ad. Inspirational ads driven by social issues performed especially well this year as well as last year and we anticipate them to continue to perform over the next calendar year.

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