Most And Least Effective Super Bowl Ads: Ace Metrix Final Results

After what can only be described as a puritanical Super Bowl in 2011, this year’s ads certainly returned “sexy” to the Super Bowl. Thirteen percent of the Super Bowl ads were “sexy” this year, up from 2% in Super Bowl 2011. That said, early consumer reaction demonstrates that sex isn’t really selling like it’s supposed to. Case in point: H&M’s David Beckham spot was among the lowest scoring ads of the entire game, with an Ace Score (for ad effectiveness) of 450 (on a scale of 950). Becks scored best with females 50+, but struggled everywhere else, including across most income, age and gender breaks.

A quick note on how we do this: This time of year, everyone seems to be a self-proclaimed expert in ranking the Super Bowl ads. Usually the rankings are either an uncontrolled poll of some type, where the most fervent fans vote multiple times for their favorite, American Idol-style. Other rankings are based on the feedback of a small sample of creative types or editors who decide for the rest of us which are the best and which are the worst. We have always felt both approaches are wrong. Our Super Bowl ad scores and rankings are always based on a geo-demographically balanced sample of at least 500 viewers per ad or some 25,000 responses for the set — the same way we test every single national ad throughout the year. And our scores are not just based on how likeable the ad is. Of course, the best ads are always highly likeable, but it’s more than this that makes the ad effective: A consumer remembering the brand, an ad that moves them, a relevant ad, an ad that provides information and ultimately creates desire for a product, an ad that results in a change of behavior—these are all criteria that go into a good ad. It is much more than a thumbs up.

So, what worked in this year’s Super Bowl?

Humor. As our friends at Groupon showed us last year, humor can go terribly wrong. That said, it can also be the star. Just ask Doritos, whose “Sling Baby” spot tied with M&M’s “Just My Shell” as the top ads of the Super Bowl, both scoring a lofty 671 Ace Score. Both were just plain funny.

Also, among the top 10 ads was “Matthew’s Day Off” from Honda, featuring Matthew Broderick in a grown-up version of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The ad was a crowd pleaser, achieving an Ace Score of 630.

Bears and dogs. Two of Coca-Cola’s Polar Bear ads ranked within the top 10 ads, achieving Ace Scores of 654 and 640, respectively, trumping Pepsi’s celebrity-laden spots: “King’s Court,” featuring Elton John and The X Factor winner Melanie Amaro (as well as Flavor Flav). “King’s Court” achieved an Ace Score of 628, and PepsiMAX’s “Check-Out” ad featuring Regis Philbin scored a 592 Ace Score.

In this mix was Doritos’ “Man’s Best Friend” ad, scoring a 645. Doritos knows how well dogs work in their ads, having aired the most effective Super Bowl ad in 2011, with its “Pug Attack” ad, which scored a 662.

Skechers’ replacement of Kim Kardashian this year with Mr. Quiggly the dog was a brilliant move. Their mix of canine cuteness with humor paid off, as the ad scored 629, a 24% increase over last year’s Kardashian bomb.

Made in America. A celebrity ad that definitely worked was Clint Eastwood’s stirring spot for Chrysler, the No. 1 automotive spot, which promoted the city of Detroit. Scoring high on “relevance” and really connecting with the American people, it scored a 633 Ace Score, which was about 20% stronger with men than last year’s spot featuring Eminem. In addition, GE’s spot featuring its work in Louisville, Kentucky, was a top-scoring Super Bowl ad, achieving an Ace Score of 600. Both ads proved that you can deliver a serious, emotive message AND connect with viewers during the Super Bowl.

The storytelling ad. Thirty percent of this year’s Super Bowl ads were longer than the average 30-second spot, the type of ad we refer to as a “storytelling ad.” This is way up from 6% last year. Why? Because they work, as we saw with the top four automotive ads, including the aforementioned Clint Eastwood Chrysler ad, which was two minutes long, as well as the Matthew Broderick Honda CRV ad (60 seconds, Ace Score: 630), the Jerry Seinfeld/ Jay Leno Acura ad (60 seconds, Ace Score 593), and the Volkswagen “Dog Strikes Back” ad (60 seconds, Ace Score: 590). The cola companies also employed storytelling in this year’s Super Bowl: Each of Coca-Cola’s three top ads were 60 seconds, as was Pepsi’s “King’s Court” ad. GE also went with the 60-second ad in its top-ranked “Building Something Big in Louisville” spot.

What about celebrities? This year, 19 Super Bowl ads starred someone famous, but not unlike the last Super Bowl, three of the 10 least effective ads starred celebrities, including David Beckham’s H&M ad, Century 21’s ad starring Donald Trump and Deion Sanders, and the GoDaddy ad starring Jillian Michaels and spokeswoman Danica Patrick. That said, it seemed that advertisers followed the advice of some of our learnings from last year and used celebrities more effectively this year, as we saw in the Chrysler Clint Eastwood ad, the Honda Matthew Broderick spot, and the Skechers’ Mr. Quiggly spot that featured a cameo of Mark Cuban. And (even though it was beaten by Coke’s polar bears,) the Pepsi Elton John spot performed extremely well. Best Buy’s shift to “tech” celebrities also performed well, delivering a solid 568.

And, who got it wrong? The Toyota brand struggled this Super Bowl and produced two ads that will likely land in the Bottom 10, including Lexus’ “the Beast” ad, which scored low on likeability and relevance with a total Ace Score of 489, and Camry’s “Connections” ad, which was shown during half-time and scored an Ace Score of 502. The launch of Bud Light Platinum went terribly wrong, scoring a lowly 476, trumped only by the disastrous “Work” ad aired by Bud Light, both ads begging the question, “How did the King of Beers get it so wrong?”

Then there is the collection of ads that are just plain confusing or odd, including the GE Turbine ad that had some strange link to Budweiser beer, scoring a 527. I also wasn’t sure how Tax-Act’s little boy peeing in the pool related to free tax software, and neither did consumers, who gave the ad a 498 Ace Score.’s “Confident You” ad was “just plain weird,” said one consumer, and its Ace Score of 490 reflected this. This, along with Hulu’s “Hulubratory” (scoring a paltry 438), were examples of “humor gone wrong.”

Read More at : Forbes