System1 reveals early Super Bowl ad leaders
February 8, 2024
Advertisers are bringing the laughs to win over audiences with their gameday spots as Super Bowl LVIII approaches on February 11th. According to data from System1, The Creative Effectiveness Platform, Michelob ULTRA, Hellmann’s and T-Mobile currently rank as the public’s favourite (and thus most effective) big game ads.
System1’s Test Your Ad platform tests consumers’ emotional responses throughout an ad, assigning creative a score of 1.0 to 5.9 Stars based on long-term brand-building potential. Ads that make people feel intense, positive emotions like happiness and surprise score high on the scale. Usually only 1 per cent of ads secure a 5-Star score.
In 2023, big game ads averaged 2.9-Stars, slightly higher than the 2.3-Star average for all US ads, and the highest average for big game commercials over the last four years. In that same timeframe, only five gameday ads have hit the 5-Star level – Disney in 2023, Huggies and McDonald’s in 2021, and Doritos and Jeep in 2020. This year’s average currently sits at 3.3-Stars, with seven exceeding 4-Stars.
Eight of the top 10 ads feature celebrities while two ads, Budweiser and M&M’s, include recurring characters and scenarios – what System1 calls fluent devices. Characters like Boston Beer’s “Your Cousin from Boston” and scenarios like Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” quickly signal the brand and drive positive emotions that support long-term brand building.
The majority of the ads aim for laughs in three ways:
- Famous spokespersons doing what they do best – Lionel Messi demonstrates his athletic abilities, Pete Davidson leans into his womaniser reputation and Zach Braff and Donald Faison once again show off their musical talents for T-Mobile.
- Brand-owned characters – The Budweiser Clydesdales make their 46th big game appearance and the M&M’s spokescandies are the stars after a brief hiatus during their main ad in 2023.
- Cultural references – Referencing the past to elicit nostalgia helps engage the part of the brain that supports long-term brand building, and leveraging current cultural trends is also an avenue for entertainment. OREO showcase important moments in history while Uber Eats capitalise on the popularity of the Beckhams’ recent documentary.
The top ads are ordered by Star Rating. Ads equal on Star Rating are ordered according to System1’s Spike Rating which predicts short-term sales impact.
- Michelob ULTRA, Superior Beach – 4.8-Stars (pictured)
- Hellmann’s, Mayo Cat – 4.5-Stars
- T-Mobile, That T-Mobile Home Internet Feeling – 4.5-Stars
- Lindt, Life is a Ball – 4.4-Stars
- Budwesier, Old School Delivery – 4.2-Stars
- OREO, It All Starts with a Twist – 4.1-Stars
- M&M’s, The M&M’S Almost Champions Ring of Comfort – 3.9-Stars
- Oikos, Hold My Oikos – 3.9-Stars
- Uber Eats, Worth Remembering – 3.7-Stars
- BMW, Talkin Like Walken – 3.6 Stars
“Like in previous years, many advertisers are going big with humour and using recurring characters, celebrities, cultural references and even a combination of all three vehicles to bring the laughs,” said Jon Evans, Chief Customer Officer, System1. “Hellmann’s ‘talking’ cat is unexpected yet fun. OREO put a comedic twist on pivotal moments in history while embedding their brand into the central storyline and T-Mobile bring back their singing spokespeople with a new celebrity guest. The entertainment stakes are high so it’s great to see marketers dialling into what works for long-term brand building.”