Super Bowl Commercials: What Makes Them Effective?By: Abby Johnson - January 31, 2012
What is it that makes a Super Bowl ad so great? Is it something funny, inspiring, unbelievable, or what? According to Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll, a likable ad doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an effective ad. As he explained, great ads are likable, but they have to do more in order to be effective.
“The ad has to really connect with consumers on an emotional level,” he said.
Daboll went on to say that consumers should be able to remember the brand, the product, and goal of the ad.
What’s your all-time favorite Super Bowl commercial? We’d love to know.
Interestingly, many brands think that getting a celebrity spokesperson will automatically guarantee success. Based on the ad effectiveness research from Ace Metrix, Daboll said this is completely false. The company found that, during last year’s Super Bowl, ads that didn’t include celebrities performed 9.2 percent better than those ads with celebrities.
What’s even more interesting is that Ace Metrix found that animals are a much safer bet than celebrities. According to its data, 21 percent of ads with animals performed better than ads with celebrities.
Daboll told us that celebrities stir emotions, both for the good and for the bad. Animals, on the other hand, appeal to a large demographic.
It appears that Sketchers is paying attention to this research since it replaced its spokesmodel Kim Kardashian with a dog earlier this month.
Here’s Kardashian’s 2011 Super Bowl ad for Sketchers:
Last year’s research also shows that Internet companies need to step up their game this year. Half of Ace Metrix’s 10 least effective Super Bowl ads were from dot-com companies such as Salesforce, Groupon, LivingSocial, and GoDaddy.
“The Internet companies think they’re funny and just roll with it,” said Daboll. “A lot of times they just completely miss the mark.”
Chances are, everyone remembers Groupon’s Tibet ad that sparked so much conflict for the company.
Daboll believes if Groupon had tested this ad, it wouldn’t have been aired. He said testing is a key component of success and that it’s surprising how many ads are not tested, even though the companies pay millions for them.
For Groupon specifically, the company was forced to deal with a major PR crisis following last year’s Super Bowl, which, no doubt, cost the company considerably.
Many brands also make the mistake of targeting too narrowly for the big game. Daboll told us that Super Bowl ads should be created for broad appeal. If a brand is trying to reach a group of young males, a specific group of women, or some other very niche demographic, he said that the Super Bowl was not the right venue.
For this year’s Super Bowl, there has been a little controversy since more and more companies are releasing their ads early. They’re argument is that the ad can gain more momentum, especially in social media.
One of the most popular early releases is Honda’s CRV commercial that is a mini follow up to the hit movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
While Daboll understands the justification for releasing ads early, he thinks it is risky since there is an advantage to having a “surprise factor.”
“If someone tells you a joke for the first time, it’s a lot funnier than if you heard it 3 or 4 times,” he pointed out.
This year will also likely see a greater integration with social media. Daboll said there would be a lot of experimentation in this area as brands determine how they can incorporate interactive elements.
Although the winners won’t be known until Sunday, Daboll said that since Coca-Cola, M&M’s, and Doritos consistently produce effective spots, they would likely be in the top this year too.
What do you think makes an effective ad? Please share your thoughts.