Microsoft’s Super Bowl Spot Ranked ‘Most Emotionally Effective’

Ahead of Jeep's Groundhog Day revival and Doritos' dance-off

Sowers is the NFL's first female coach and first openly gay coach.

Among the many winners of the Super Bowl—The Chiefs, Andy Reid’s legacy, Punxsutawney Phil—was Microsoft’s “Be the One” ad featuring San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers.

Even though Sowers won’t get a ring this year, the ad was rated as the most “emotionally effective” commercial of the Super Bowl, according to System1, a predictive marketing firm based out of London.

System1 surveyed 11,250 people across the United States in real time, measuring how viewers responded to each commercial based on seven human emotions ranging from fear, surprise and happiness.

The firm asked viewers to choose which emotions each ad triggered and how strongly it resonated. Although it can’t say yet whether emotional resonance correlates with an increase in sales, System1 says that rankings can determine long-term brand growth.

“For every pioneering achievement, somebody has to ‘Be the One’ and do it first. In this case, it was Katie,” said Jon Evans, System1’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “Emotional response testing should be a mandatory step in your ad building campaign, especially if you’re after the world’s most sought after air time.”

Microsoft was rated the most emotionally effective ad ahead of Jeep’s Bill Murray-led Groundhog Day revival (Adweek’s top ad) and the Doritos dance-off starring Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott.

Microsoft’s spot didn’t feature any celebrities, opting instead to allow Sowers to tell her own story as the first female coach as well as the league’s first openly gay coach to appear in the Super Bowl. Creative agency McCann was behind the 60-second ad.

This was Microsoft’s second year atop System1’s ranking, as the brand’s universally acclaimed “We All Win” spot received high marks alongside the NFL’s 100-year campaign kickoff and WeatherTech’s Scout ad.


@RyanBarwick ryan.barwick@adweek.com Ryan is a brand reporter covering travel, mobility and sports marketing.
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