Does Anyone Remember The Super Bowl Ads?

All that high-profile, pomp and social media around Super Bowl advertising -- does anyone remember any of it? New research suggests just a little.

Research from GlobalWebIndex says only 21% of those who recall Super Bowl ads with celebrities considered making a purchase.

Just a few of those Super Bowl spots did well: Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus and Sam Elliot in a Doritos spot posted the highest recall -- 39% of Super Bowl viewers. An Amazon Alexa spot was next, with Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, at 38%.

Additionally, just 16% of Super Bowl viewers recall brands committed to “purpose-driven” goals -- those who talked up charitable donations, product sustainability and volunteer work. Spots here came from Michelob Ultra, Verizon, Olay and Saucony.

Overall, 50% of those who recalled an ad say their opinion of the brand didn’t change.



GlobalWebIndex’s study was of 2,210 U.S. internet users ages 16-64, 1,363 of them watched Super Bowl LIV.

For years, some Super Bowl messaging/advertising seemed to be much more for marketers. They don't want to be excluded from the ad discussions in the consumer press when it comes to polls over best Super Bowl TV commercials.

But what about actual TV attribution, the return on specific media investment in the Super Bowl tracked to actual engagement, such as website visits, in-store traffic -- and the goal standard of ROI -- actual sales of products and services?

Only a week or so after the big game, the jury is still out.

For years, especially with the Super Bowl, marketing executives always believed TV advertising worked -- even if they didn’t exactly know why.

So, is that worth the $5.5 million for a 30-second spot in the big game played earlier this month, as well as including whatever millions went into production of those TV commercials?

As big as the out-of-pocket TV advertising expense is for the Super Bowl, the CPM -- the cost per thousand viewers -- continues to be somewhat reasonable, according to media buyers.

And, of course, there’s the attraction of the Super Bowl’s massive TV audience.

Big brand advertisers will continue to buy; and we’ll continue to watch. But a moment or so after the big game, I’ll forget how anyone was trying to sell beer, car insurance, or a smart-home device.

But Bill Murray working with critters while driving around in a spot riffing on his 1983 movie “Groundhog Day”? Can’t forget that! The marketer? It was for some SUV, right?

3 comments about "Does Anyone Remember The Super Bowl Ads?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 14, 2020 at 1:39 p.m.

    Wayne, no advertiser expects everybody who watches a commercial to be motivated to buy the advertised brand. I would ask these people what a typical percentge for all TV advertising was compared to the Super Bowl finding. Without that as a combarative benchmark, it's hard to interpret these results.

  2. Kevin Harmann from Ebiquity, February 14, 2020 at 3:22 p.m.

    I believe that the incrementally larger CPM (and typically larger production costs) associated with brands airing spots in the Super Bowl follows the "expectation" that more attention is being paid to the ads (let's face it, nobody watches "This Is Us" solely "for the ads"). One would surmise that increased recall would follow suit; however, this flies in the face of the theory that a certain threshhold level of frequency needs to be reached for optimal message recall. Admittedly, I've seen a number of SB spots that I deemed hilarious, yet could not recall the featured brand some days later (despite being "in the biz"). 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 14, 2020 at 5 p.m.

    Kevin, it all depends on how it's measured. Tyically a commercial inpact researcher measuring, among other things, recall of seeing the message and what the message was, is obliged to give the respondent some sort of  reminder to start the process off---like, "Did you see a toothpaste ad in that show?" O,r "Did you see a commercial where two cars were racing?" That is usually enough to stimulate a pretty high level of recall---30-40%---and then the researchers can bore in for more detail about portions of the message, sales motivation, etc. Just asking people if they remember Super Bowl commercials cold, without some sort or reminder, is certain to depress recall---especially if conducted days later.

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