Microsoft and Google Were the Two Most Effective Super Bowl Ads, According to These Stats

Unruly shared its annual list based on emotional, brand and social impact metrics

Both Microsoft and Google came away from this year's Super Bowl as the two most memorable spots. Microsoft, Google
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It’s the Thursday after the Super Bowl, and everyone has already weighed in on their favorite ads of the game. But which ones actually helped the brands they were advertising connect with potential customers?

According to Unruly, which unveiled its list of “most effective” ads based on its EQ score data made up of survey results from asking 500 viewers per ad what they felt an “intense” response to, two tech brands topped the list. Unruly insights director Terence Scroope explained that the EQ score is derived from “composite metrics comprised of emotional impact, authenticity and purchase intent.”

“The ads listed at the top of our chart were highly emotional spots that hit on emotions of happiness, amazement, warmth, pride and inspiration,” Scroope told Adweek. “Our data found that there was an increase in ads focused on inspiration and happiness.”

Super Bowl LIII also marked a turn toward greater diversity.

“Overall, the Super Bowl definitely skewed more female than in previous years. In addition to ads from Bumble and Toyota focused on female leads, we also found that out of the 35 celebrities who appeared in Super Bowl 2019 ads, 13 were women compared with 22 men,” Scroope said.

Scroope added that while those numbers “don’t look amazing for gender equality,” they do “mark a sharp increase compared to last year, which featured 44 male celebrities versus 12 female. This year 37 ads featured men and 21 have women with speaking or featured roles.”

Microsoft’s “We All Win” topped the list of “most effective” ads, with an UnrulyEQ score of 7.5, well above the 6.1 score that earned Toyota’s “Good Odds” ad the top spot last year. The ad, which built off the brand’s “Reindeer Games” holiday spot, showcased how Microsoft’s  Xbox Adaptive Controller helps children with disabilities enjoy gaming.

“It’s not surprising that it came out on top because it had some of the highest scores on the emotional impact front with the highest scores around intense emotional responses in terms of happiness (35 percent), amazement (24 percent), warmth (35 percent), pride (tied with Bumble at 15 percent) and inspiration (42 percent),” Scroope said. “Not only did it have the highest emotional profile, but it also scored highest for brand metrics that include credibility and authenticity (both at 95 percent).”

Google’s “100 Billion Words” promoting Google Translate, one of two ads for Google during the Big Game, followed with an UnrulyEQ score of 6.7. Like Microsoft’s entry, it earned high marks for credibility and authenticity (90 percent). The ad earned the top score for relatability in the survey at 88 percent, while also edging out “We All Win” for brand recall at 76 percent. Top emotional responses were warmth (26 percent), happiness (25 percent) and inspiration (24 percent).

There was a decrease in Super Bowl ads relying on humor compared to last year when “Super Bowl LII ads were 150 percent funnier than average U.S. ads, which marked a change from the more serious batch of 2017 ads where brands got controversial with political and social issues,” Scroope said. “We saw one of the lowest hilarity scores in recent years at just 4 percent.”

Several of the ads that stood out as “most effective” did rely on humor, however, including those leading the pack for viewers reporting “hilarity” as a significant response.

BBDO New York’s “Bad Passengers” ad for M&M’s was one of the two most humorous ads, according to Unruly, with 23 percent of viewers surveyed responding with “hilarity.” Eighteen percent also responded with happiness, and the ad scored well in both authenticity and credibility at 88 percent each. While 66 percent of viewers responded with purchase intent, strangely, only 11 percent reported brand recall. The spot earned an UnrulyEQ score of 6.5

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@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.