Google tops Ipsos real-time, nonconscious ranking of Super Bowl ads

Ipsos repeats its unique contextual, biometric ranking

The author(s)

  • Lindsay Franke Senior Vice President, US, Creative Excellence
  • Pedr Howard Senior Vice President, US, Creative Excellence
  • Manuel Garcia-Garcia, PhD Global Lead of Neuroscience, Global Science Organization
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Chicago, IL — Google inspired the highest emotional engagement in Ipsos’ second annual real-time test. Unlike other such experiments, Ipsos tests the ads in a realistic situation by recruiting an audience of 37 people to watch the ads, during the game, at a Super Bowl party. Participants could even bring friends. Each viewer was fitted with Shimmer’s NeuroLynQ system – a wrist bracelet and finger sensor to passively capture galvanic skin response (GSR). This allowed Ipsos to measure emotional engagement passively throughout the game and every commercial aired in the Chicago area, where the viewing party took place. This data can now be used to decode which ads had the strongest emotional impact on the audience during the event itself – not when tested in isolation. Last year, Tide detergent edged out the NFL and M&Ms in the Ipsos ranking.

Along with the usual celebrities and animals, two big themes emerged in the commercials. On one hand, many of the ads were about looking back, with nostalgic appearances from favorite characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Dude from, “The Big Lebowski, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, the Backstreet Boys and even Andy Warhol.  Other ads looked forward, with robots featuring in ads for Turbo Tax, Michelob Ultra and Sprint, and voice-assistants for Mercedes, Pringles and - of course – Amazon Alexa.

The top 10 ads, based on highest peak emotional response, were:

  1. Google (100 billion words)
  2. Amazon Alexa
  3. SimpliSafe
  4. T-Mobile (Lyft Driver)
  5. Toyota (Rav4)
  6. Mint Mobile (Chunky Milk)
  7. Doritos (Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys)
  8. T-Mobile (Keep it brief)
  9. Pepsi
  10. Mercedes Benz (A-Class)

“We believe this is a markedly different ranking system to most used in the industry for two reasons,” said Manuel Garcia-Garcia of the Ipsos Science Organization. “First, it is entirely based on nonconscious reactions and second, the data was collected during the event itself, reflecting the real world response and context around the Super Bowl.”

Google got the highest emotional reaction in its “100 billion words spot” during a scene featuring political protests. T-Mobile had a strong campaign with high branded recall and three ads in the top 15 of the Ipsos ranking.

“On average, the ads showed less engagement than last year’s crop of Super Bowl spots,” said Ipsos’ Pedr Howard. “Not surprisingly, given the historic lack of touchdowns for most of the game, the overall score for the game was noticeably lower than the Patriots vs. Eagles contest of 2018. The $5.25 million question is whether the game itself impacts the engagement with the ads or whether we saw a dip in creative quality.”

Some longer-running Super Bowl ad meters are based on recall, or manual ratings. Only recently has the technology reached a point where Ipsos’ and Shimmer’s nonconscious methodology has even been possible. Brand recall is also a helpful metric for judging the impact of commercials. After the game, Ipsos asked its audience about the most memorable commercials. T-Mobile, Verizon, Budweiser, Bud Light and Pepsi had the highest recall. All but Budweiser aired multiple spots throughout the game, which is known to help with recall. Budweiser had the highest recall of the advertisers that only aired one spot. The importance of combining conscious and non-conscious responses was demonstrated by the Doritos spot, which cracked the top 10 on the emotional ranking, but when it came to recall some audience members said they liked the “Chance the Rapper and Backstreet Boys” commercial without naming the sponsor itself.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Lindsay Franke
Head of Creative Excellence, US
+1 (312) 665-0571

Pedr Howard
Senior Vice President, US
+1 (203) 919-3474

Manuel Garcia-Garcia, PhD
Senior Vice President, Ipsos Science Organization
+1 (929) 313-3609

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)

  • Lindsay Franke Senior Vice President, US, Creative Excellence
  • Pedr Howard Senior Vice President, US, Creative Excellence
  • Manuel Garcia-Garcia, PhD Global Lead of Neuroscience, Global Science Organization

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