Facial-Tracking Technology Shows These 5 Super Bowl Ads Were the Most Engaging

While most people were kicking back, relaxing and watching the Super Bowl over the weekend, software company Lucid and insights platform Qualtrics were conducting a study to determine the most engaging commercials of the year by measuring people's facial expressions.

The study, which used Realeyes emotion measurement technology, looked at facial expressions of more than 3,000 participants. The technology monitors 49 facial points through webcams to determine which ads receive the most response, tracking everything from frowns and smiles to raised eyebrows. Results are broken down by emotions, including happiness, confusion, disgust, sadness, fear and surprise. The data also measures overall negative feelings toward an ad and engagement throughout the ad.

Take a look at the five Super Bowl 50 ads that were deemed to be the most engaging. You can find all the data here.

1

Skittles, “The Portait”

Skittles' tapped Steven Tyler for its Super Bowl spot this year, creating a portrait of the Aerosmith singer made entirely out of the colorful candies. The spot wasn't quite a hit with Adweek, and viewers at home seemed to agree.

While Skittles scored an 86.1 percent engagement rate, 50 percent of responses to the spot were negative.

2

Hyundai, “First Date”

Hyundai's 60-second commercial "First Date" technically ran right before the game kicked off, but a cameo from Kevin Hart managed to engage people at home. The pre-kick spot racked up a 91.5 percent engagement rate.

3

Heinz, “Wiener Stampede”

A herd of wiener dogs dressed as hot dogs running through an open field was bound to be a hit with people at home. The stampede of cuteness garnered an 85.1 percent engagement rate. While roughly 30 percent of people felt disgusted, perhaps because the dogs were running toward humans dressed as condiments to possibly be eaten, nearly 60 percent of people were delighted by the dogs.

4

Marmot, “Love the Outside”

Realeyes deemed Marmot's first Super Bowl spot, featuring the furry marmot, as the second most engaging ad to run on game day. It scored higher than 98.5 percent of all other ads measured by the company.

There's an extended 60-second version of the spot that is even more bizarre, but even just 30-seconds of possible man-on-marmot action captured the attention of viewers at home. Data showed that 31.8 percent of viewers were disgusted, 63.9 percent felt happy and 23.2 percent were just plain confused, but overall engagement sat at about 88 percent. 

5

Doritos, “Ultrasound”

This Doriots Crash the Super Bowl winner sparked some controversy on Twitter, with some viewers speculating that the commercial hinted at abortion. The controversial message in the ad paid off for Doritos in the end, though, with the tracking data showing "Ultrasound" was the most engaging spot for Super Bowl 50.

"Ultrasound" scored 99.2 percent higher than all ads ever measured by Realeyes, earning a 10 out of 10 in retention, engagement and impact.

"The winning Doritos ad bucked the trend by being the only one of this year's top 10 not to have an animal or celebrity. In what's been described as a 'very safe' year, it divided opinion online ahead of the game while facial tracking showed it evoked average levels of disgust, particularly in men," Mihkel Jäätma, Realeyes CEO, said in a statement.