Dancing in the End Zone: Ads and Brands that Won Big for Super Bowl XLVIII

Dancing in the End Zone: Ads and Brands that Won Big for Super Bowl XLVIII

While the entertainment quotient of Super Bowl XLVIII might be in question by some, the fact that the big game remained a pillar of American entertainment can’t be disputed. A large contributing factor in the Super Bowl’s entertainment experience—which many viewers even consider the driving factor—is the ads. According to Nielsen TV Brand Effect, there is good news for advertisers! Gameplay aside, while some “drop off” in ad memorability between the first and second halves of the game is to be expected (10 percent on average from 2009-2013), this year’s game bucked the trend, as Super Bowl XLVIII only saw ad performance wane a modest 7 percent during the game’s “never in doubt” second half.

Nielsen research has found that some ads and brands in particular drove their messages to the finish line ahead of the rest. Even off the field, these ads delivered stellar performances based on ad memorability, likeability, and a new metric being added to the historic Nielsen Super Bowl ranking, Twitter TV reach. With this new metric provided by Nielsen SocialGuide, we now know that 12.9 million viewers saw Tweets about the brands that advertised in the big game and can look even closer at what portion of that Twitter Audience saw messages about each brand.

Some brands excelled in terms of both ad effectiveness and Twitter reach, illustrating that a successful ad will get the masses talking. Budweiser and Doritos, despite their differing tactical executions, remain leaders based on likeability and memorability, as they have been in Super Bowls past. While Budweiser’s sentimental approach and unique ownable concept establishes an emotional connection (who doesn’t love horses and puppies?), Doritos’ use of slapstick humor gets the laughs and connects on a different, but still strong, emotional level. And not only were audiences feeling it, but they were talking, rather, tweeting all about it: Budweiser and Doritos ranked two and six, respectively, based on how many Twitter users saw Tweets about the brands.

Newcomers to the top 10 mix included RadioShack (memorability, likability and Twitter reach) and Beats Music (likability and Twitter reach), which were also able to connect with TV audiences, including those that took to Twitter during the game: RadioShack was the fourth-most memorable commercial and the No. 1 most-liked commercial and closed out the top brands based on Twitter reach, with 2.6 million people seeing Tweets about the brand.

Beats Music’s “The Right Music” spot struck the right chord with audiences, snagging sixth place on the most liked list and reaching 2.7 million people on Twitter (#9).

The “Gracie” spot, Cheerio’s long-awaited sequel to its introduction of an interracial family enjoying the health benefits of cereal, was warmly received, making a lasting, likeable impression on audiences, placing it fifth on both the most-liked and most-memorable lists, and proving once again that an ownable concept and a relatable family situation transcends demographics.


Rank Brand Ad Description/Length Ad & Brand Memorability lndex
1 Budweiser Hero’s Welcome :60 195
2 Doritos Cowboy Kid :30 177
3 Budweiser Puppy Love :60 169
4 RadioShack The Phone Call :30 164
5 Cheerios Gracie :30 154
6 Wonderful Pistachios Stephen Colbert – Part 2 :15 154
7 Sodastream Scarlett Johansson – Better For All Of Us :30 151
8 Bodybuilders :30 151
9 GEICO Pig – DMV :15 144
10 Doritos Time Machine :30 141
Read as: With a brand and ad memorability index of 195, Budweiser’s “Hero’s Welcome” has proven to be 1.95 times as memorable as the average 2014 Super Bowl ad.
Source: Nielsen.


Rank Brand Ad Description/Length Likability lndex
1 RadioShack The Phone Call :30 140
2 Budweiser Puppy Love :60 129
3 Doritos Time Machine :30 126
4 Budweiser Hero’s Welcome :60 124
5 Cheerios Gracie :30 124
6 Beats Music The Right Music :60 122
7 M&M’s Kidnapped :45 119
8 Wonderful Pistachios Stephen Colbert – Part 1 :15 117
9 Audi Doberhuahua :60 116
10 Budweiser Epic Night :60 116
Read as: With a Likability index of 140, RadioShack’s ad “The Phone Call” has proven to be 1.40 times as likable as the average 2014 Super Bowl ad.
Source: Nielsen.

Nielsen SocialGuide: Top 10 Brands for Super Bowl XLVIII, Ranked by Twitter TV Unique Audience

Rank Brand Twitter TV Unique Audience (000) Twitter TV Impressions (000)
1 Esurance 8,049.0 119,968.7
2 Budweiser 6,787.3 27,412.5
3 T-Mobile 6,469.3 23,437.4
4 H&M
4,901.0 15,535.3
5 Coca-Cola 4,210.5 13,372.8
6 Doritos 3,914.1 8,016.3
7 Bud Light 3,005.3 7,112.7
8 Oikos 2,890.6 5,694.6
9 Beats Music 2,661.7 4,897.9
10 RadioShack 2,614.0
Read as: Tweets about Esurance sent during/around the Super Bowl airing were seen by 8.0 million people (Unique Audience) a total of 120.0 million times (Impressions).
For more information on the Twitter Activity and Reach of the big event, you can access the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings Super Bowl XLVIII Post-game Report here.
Source: Nielsen SocialGuide.

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Ad/Brand Memorability: All Super Bowl Ads were ranked on the percent of viewers who remembered both the ad’s content and brand the day after real-world exposure during the game, indexed versus the mean score of all 2014 Super Bowl ads. For example, with an index of 195, Budweiser’s “Hero’s Welcome” ad was1.95 times as memorable and well-branded as the average 2014 Super Bowl ad.

Likability: All Super Bowl ads with average or above average Ad/Brand Memorability were ranked on Likeability. The Likability Index was calculated by taking the Likability score (percent of ad and brand aware viewers who liked the ad ‘lot’ or ‘somewhat’) and indexing versus the mean likability score of all 2014 Super Bowl ads. For example, with a Likability index of 140 RadioShack’s “The Phone Call” ad has proven to be 1.40 times as likable as the average 2014 Super Bowl ad.

Twitter TV: Twitter TV activity was collected on a +/- three hour capture window around the linear airing time of the TV Event. Brands include those that placed ads in the live TV event. Reach Metrics (Unique Audience, Impressions) were measured from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5 a.m. Data includes only those brands measured by TV Brand Effect.

Notes: The Top 10 TVBE lists are based on about 11,874 ad surveys of Super Bowl viewers; 62 unique national creative executions (excluding movie spots, integrations, and hybrids) during the game’s four quarters and halftime were considered for the list. Tweets about the TV Event, which included the game, halftime and brands, reached a Unique Audience of 15.3 million people, with those Tweets seen a total of 1.8 billion times (Impressions).