The reason: The brands could suffer from being in the wrong media environment--even if the game draws a massive audience, according to the research.
While some brands ponying up millions may find their ads yield low viewer engagement and a corresponding ROI, others look to do well, such as Doritos, Pepsi, Budweiser, Coke and Toyota, the research revealed.
The sixth annual Super Bowl Engagement Study was conducted by New York consultancy Brand Keys, which surveyed some 1,200 men and women ages 18 to 65, who said they were very likely to watch the game Feb. 3. The survey seeks to gauge how much viewers will be engaged with--or respond positively to--particular spots. It offers insight into whether the ads will lead to intended results.
Brand Keys says its research also takes into account what it calls "ROE" (Return on Equity), which looks at "how the media environment reinforces, or in some cases, degrades, brand values."
"The day-after creative reviews are interesting, but today, clients want to know more than that they were seen," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys. "After all, buying the Super Bowl is buying awareness. But what advertisers really want to know is exactly what they got for their investment. Real engagement measures allow them to do that."
The survey did not augur well for Ford. However, fellow carmaker Hyundai, which had made noises about exiting the Super Bowl, has decided to keep its ad positions in the game.
The research did predict positive results for other brands, such as GoDaddy.com, Planters Peanuts and Unilever.
Paramount, Universal and Sony movie studios were predicted to have only modest results.
"It has nothing to do with being watched or awareness levels, and everything to do with viewers being emotionally engaged with the brand," said Passikoff. "Everybody knows Ford and their sales fell 12% last year. The objective is to sell cars, not just entertain. That's just not enough any more. Not all media venues are right for all brands, no matter how large an audience they generate."