Super Bowl ads—undoubtedly in a class all their own—are roughly 40 percent more memorable than the average commercial, according to Nielsen TV Brand Effect. This, combined with the Super Bowl’s massive reach and high program engagement that has increased over the past five years, are just three of the many reasons that attract Super Bowl advertisers and inspire them to keep us entertained year after year.
As we prepare for this year’s big game and often even bigger ads, let’s take a quick look back and commemorate those titans of the ad industry that have consistently proven that they’ve got the creative concepts, visuals and spectacular execution to score big. And since it’s awards season, Nielsen is kicking off the Super Bowl Advertiser Hall of Fame because, let’s face it, with an ad viewing experience that is anything but “typical,” for many the Super Bowl is as much about the commercials as it is about the game itself.
Drumroll, please… the first inductees are:
Doritos has ranked the most liked ad two years running and the most memorable ad and brand four year’s running. Doritos’ use of relatable characters and unexpected, humorous plot twists has jolted viewers and elevated the brand’s ads, creating content worth remembering and talking about. As advertising best practices would indicate, Doritos’ appeal to audiences’ sense of humor has proven successful for the brand.
Some ads have a specific function and they’re great at their role. GoDaddy’s creative, for example, has ranked among the most-watched or most recalled ads of the year for several years. Notably, GoDaddy’s ads have definitely been met with mixed reviews in terms of likeability, but as many Hall of Famers can attest, success doesn’t necessarily mean winning a popularity contest. GoDaddy’s wins have come from creating some of the most talked about ads, and the company has in turn, been the Super Bowl advertiser with the steepest increases in Web traffic.
Despite the consistent use of jolting images and humor in ads from brands like GoDaddy and Doritos, creative tactics that resonate with Super Bowl audiences are as diverse as the audiences themselves. Budweiser’s Clydesdale ads often create an emotional connection with audiences in a very different way, tugging at their heart strings while telling a compelling story with an ownable creative concept—also a tried-and-true method for achieving sustained in-market ad resonance.
Other brands have taken their own unique tactical approaches in connecting with consumers. E-trade, for example, debuted its talking baby campaign in 2008, and has built that into a truly ownable concept that’s distinctly associated with its brand. The digitally savvy portfolio-proud baby mixes sentiment with slapstick, an unlikely, yet totally likeable and highly memorable combination.
“The Super Bowl stands alone when it comes to connecting the ads to the ‘entertainment experience’ of the program, giving it a key leg up in the marketplace and earning the millions each 30-second spot costs,” says Randall Beard, Global Head, Advertiser Solutions for Nielsen. “Now, social media, pre-game sneak peaks and regular airings give ads an even longer lifespan that can generate major buzz—and greater ROI—for the brands.”
Brands like Doritos, GoDaddy, Budweiser and E-trade have viewers tuned in and turned up, ready to see what they’ll bring to the game this year. Other advertisers like Snickers and M&M’s (both Mars brands), with their use of humor, unexpected storylines, and consistent creative style—can’t wait to see what Red, Yellow and Green get into this year!—are certainly ones to watch. For many viewers, the ads ARE the reason to tune in, so whatever these and other advertisers and others bring to the field, we’ll be watching!
Nielsen Super Bowl Advertiser Hall of Fame is based on an analysis of ads included in our five-year Nielsen TV Brand Effect historic ranking. All inductees were ads that ranked in the top 10 for recall and/or likeability for at least three of the past five years. Nielsen TV Brand Effect provides comprehensive insight into a commercial’s ability to be remembered and resonate with consumers who were naturally exposed to the ad in-market.
Ads’ memorability scores were calculated by the percent of viewers able to correctly identify the ad’s content as well as the correct brand 24 hours after being exposed to the ad during the normal course of viewing the Super Bowl. Likeability is also taken into account, which was calculated by the percent of viewers who were able to remember the ad and brand also report to like the ad “a lot” or “somewhat.”