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Super Bowl 2016: Winners and Losers

Like a lot of the US, we at Realeyes were glued to our screens on Super Bowl Sunday – but it wasn’t for the game. It was so we could collect every ad shown during the game and test people’s emotional responses to them.

We partnered with data providers Lucid and insights platform Qualtrics to bring you the definitive ranking of the most emotionally engaging ads of #SuperBowl50. Using Lucid’s Fulcrum unit, we tested 72 ads on over 3000 people in the US in record time.

The Realeyes platform measures how people feel while they watch video content online. People share access to their webcams for the duration of the video, and their facial expressions are tracked, processed and analysed in the cloud. Results appear on our online dashboard in near real-time. 

Speed being of the essence to avoid general Superbowl fatigue, we drew on the full scale of Lucid’s access to consumer data for the fastest turnover. We collected over 15000 views and analysed 6.7 million frames in just three hours – enough data to create reliable reports on all 72 ads.

And the winner is….

Doritos chose to run not one but two user-generated contenders for the last year of their ‘Crash the Superbowl’ campaign – both made it into our Top 10. But while ‘Dogs’ is entertaining but gentle, with a group of pets trying to raid a store, ‘Ultrasound’ is the more divisive offering. It drew mixed reactions and plenty of attention online ahead of the game, but it ultimately seems to have paid off. It pipped Marmot’s ‘Love the Outside’to the post, scoring better than 99% of the ads in our database.

This year’s worst ad was Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts, which only scored an EmotionAll3 and was a whopping 78% worse than Doritos’ winner – worse even than Xifaxan’s walking bowels and the ad about opiod-induced constipation. Although a valiant effort with an important message, the ad lacked impact and fell flat. Some may argue that the Superbowl is not the place for PSAs, but Budweiser’s own ‘don’t drink and drive’ message, #GiveADamn, broke into the Top 20. A string of insults aimed at drink drivers delivered by Helen Mirren appears more emotionally engaging – perhaps it’s the accent.

Film trailers, no matter how highly anticipated, weren’t able to break into the top 20. The highest scoring trailer is the Jungle Book at slot 25, and perhaps surprisingly, a fair few made it into the bottom scorers.

Here are the bottom 10 scorers… 

Super Bowl ad rankings 

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bow ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings

Super Bowl ad rankings 
The top 10 this year may be dominated by animals and celebrities, but things get more interesting lower down. See how your favourite ad scored out of the full 2016 Super Bowl rankings.

Rio Olympics 2016: The Full Rankings

We partnered with audience platform Lucid to to test the emotional reactions of over 4,5000 people in the US, collecting over 18,000 ad views to 66 Olympic commercials. 

The US may have swept to the top of the Rio medals table, but which Olympic commercials actually made it to the top of the podium? Ad Week featured the top ten commercials from our study – and the table below covers all 66. Click on the campaign names to view each emotional chart within the dashboard, or check out our own insights on who made the top ten, and why.

How John Lewis always gets the best Christmas presence

Every year at Realeyes, we collect the best festive offerings and create a top 10 ranking of the most emotional ads of the season. This is no poll or subjective ranking – it’s based on the real-time emotional responses of customers.

We partnered with audience platform Lucid to measure the emotional response of 4450 people watching 65 ads from leading UK retailers. Emotions drive behaviour, and the pervasive emotional advertising spearheaded by John Lewis at Christmas-time is no seasonal coincidence. John Lewis’ own heartstring-tugging ads, courtesy of Adam&Eve/DDB, are undoubtedly driving their Christmas revenue, which unlike many retailers, continues to grow year on year.
But while it may seem straightforward to tap into that Christmas sentiment and get customers on board, you need more than a few Christmas trappings to raise a real smile.


Christmas 2016 ad ranking

Most shared ad to date

John Lewis may have edged the line last year with Man on the Moon, which some found more melancholy than celebratory, and it only came 7th in our rankings. This time however they’ve outdone themselves, producing not just this year’s most emotional Christmas ad – but the best performing John Lewis Christmas ad we’ve ever tested, which proved better than 94.8% of ads in our entire database and beat 2011’s The Long Wait. This result has been borne out on social media, with Buster also turning out to be John Lewis most shared ad to date.

Double the happiness

Competition was tough though, with the best 10 ads within a range of just over 10%, compared to nearly 20% last year. The Body Shop’s Jungle Bells was the runner up with 94.1%. And what all the best ads have in common is a steady build-up of happiness over time, culminating in a significant emotional high for their viewers – in Buster’s case, a peak of happiness that’s double the average usually elicited in any Christmas advertising.

Moving away from ‘sadvertising’

The ad seems to indicate a move away from the melancholy of last year. It is beautifully executed and retains the classic John Lewis soundtrack, but it’s much more straightforward and light-hearted than #ManOnTheMoon, hinging on a simple twist rather than a more complex narrative. This same strategy is reflected in the Top 10, where most entries play for laughs, with the exception perhaps of M&S and Waitrose, who hark back to the more dramatic big budget advertising we’ve seen in previous years.

Emotions drive appeal

The strength of the top three also relies on getting all demographics on board more or less equally. Disparities in the emotional responses of different demographics are often exactly where ads that ranked lower fall down. Interestingly, what we might deem more dramatic or sentimental Christmas advertising, like the aforementioned Waitrose, or the ads from Heathrow, Sainsbury’s and Apple, score very well with women, but often fail to engage men as thoroughly, hampering their overall rank. Whether this is a failing, or actually successful targeting, given women may be considered more likely to be the ones shopping for the family at Christmas, will probably be evident amongst those brands’ bottom lines.

Feeling requires substance

A far cry from John Lewis, the lowest scoring ads of the season – from Grey Goose and House of Fraser – lag behind amongst the worst 15% of ads ever tested. For House of Fraser especially, this is the second appearance in a row at the bottom of the table, though this year’s offering – very similar in style to last year’s – does score marginally better with an EmotionAll 3. Though it looks glitzy and nods to the festivities with flaming Christmas puddings and a lot of glitter, it fails to evoke true emotion.
It takes more than tinsel and a Slade soundtrack to evoke real Christmas cheer – John Lewis, aided by Adam&Eve/DDB, remain leaders in the field. The rest of the retail sector are undoubtedly keen to follow in their wake, likely leaving the ‘sadvertising’ of yesteryear ever further behind.


John Lewis ad no longer top of the tree

Christmas ads are always a big talking point – John Lewis’ #ManOnTheMoon was so eagerly awaited it had its own countdown this year, but was it as successful as the media coverage implied? We applied emotion recognition to test 30 ads from the UK’s top retailers, capturing the emotions of nearly 1500 viewers to understand how good these Christmas ads actually are at engaging people, which ones did it best, and why. As advertisers become ever better at playing our emotional strings, it seems the answer is still a strong narrative done with warmth and humour – and plenty of Christmas cheer.