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2022 Super Bowl LVI Ads Destined to Outperform Previous Years

Colin Pye
February 8, 2022

NFL fans have enjoyed three weeks of fantastic playoff games, many of which were contested until the last play. Now we have the real competition: the battle for ad attention.

This year’s Super Bowl ad spots cost $6.5 million to reach an audience of almost 100 million. Brands cannot control viewer attention to the game (people tune out if it’s a blowout), though they can control how their creative captures attention. The early-release ads before the big game, achieve first-mover advantage by capturing attention and seeding narrative. They also signal what is to come among the larger pack.

Super Bowl LVI ads overall are destined to outperform prior years according to the Realeyes Pre-Game Attention Report.

What You Need to Know

Early-release Ads Scoring Far Higher

This year’s early released Super Bowl ads are scoring significantly higher than previous years. The Creative Quality Score of early-released ads this year is 5.8 on average out of a possible 10, up from 4.8 in 2021 and 5.0 in 2020. Quality Score reflects the ability of a video to capture attention, retain attention and prompt emotional response, by measuring opt-in viewers’ natural eye movements and facial cues.

All Ads Likely to Outperform

Based on the predictive strength of early-released ads in prior years, Realeyes predicts this year’s Super Bowl ads will land an average Quality Score between 5.0 and 5.2. Early released ads in prior years predict final scores of all ads within 15% variance.

Post-Pandemic Creative Resonating

After years of somber, pandemic-ladened themes, the creatives this year are delivering more humor and portrayals of ‘mask-free’ post-pandemic life. In addition to higher attention capture and retain scores, ads this year are driving higher emotional encoding scores, up 95% from 2021 and 53% from 2020

Early Released Creative More Media Efficient

Creative that holds attention reduces the effective cost of a quality exposure by maximizing the potential impact of each media impression. The efficiency of this year’s early ads are 52%, a full 7 to 9 percentage points higher than prior early-released ads. If the actual CPM were $10, the effective cost of a quality exposure in this year’s early released ads would be $19 with a 52% creative efficiency.

What You Need to Do

Performance of the early-released ads surfaces best practices and mandates for advertisers.

  • Embrace optimism and normality in creative. Leave COVID-era messaging to the health PSAs; focus on creative choices that embody the world you want to create. Audiences want some escape to normality.  
  • Humor reigns… still. People want to laugh, and it remains among the best ways to capture attention and drive emotional response. 
  • Pay Peyton! Well, he can’t be in every ad, but a long time ago, people thought he was overexposed. Our data show an established celebrity, known for fun or humor, will drive attention. 
  • Good creative pays. The payoff will not deliver if you lose the attention of those who fail to wait around for the surprise. Capture and retain attention, or suffer the consequences of premium CPMs that fail to deliver human and business impact. 

Realeyes Super Bowl Pre-Game Attention Report

Early-release and total ads (2020 - 2022)

Year Flight Quality Score Capture Retain Encode Creative Efficiency qCPM
2022 Early 5.7 4.6 21% 88.2 56% $19.29
2021 All Ads 4.5 4.7 19% 45.2 45% $27.53
2021 Early 4.8 5.1 19% 35.5 47% $25.34
2020 All Ads 4.3 4.2 19% 57.8 44% $26.87
2020 Early 5.0 4.5 17% 69.1 49% $22.84
Advertiser Creative Duration Quality Score Creative Efficiency qCPM
Sam's Club Super Bowl Ad 0:24


91% $11.04
Vroom Flake the Musical 0:30


82% $12.27
PepsiCo Road to Super Bowl LVI 2:08


53% $18.70
Michelob Ultra Peyton's Ready 0:15


72% $13.90
Budweiser We're Back 0:10


56% $18.00
AT&T Fiber A Lot in Common 1:00


62% $16.25
Cheetos Questions 0:35


65% $15.47
Lay's What Are We Doing 0:15


42% $24.09
Rakuten Big Game Teaser Evil Laugh 0:15


52% $19.25
AT&T Fiber Zac Effron 0:23


47% $21.26
Planters All or One 0:30


52% $19.40 Idris Calls His Spokes-Blokes 0:41


44% $22.75
Irish Spring Welcome to Irish Spring 0:09


34% $29.06
E-Trade The Search Is On 0:15


43% $23.08

Methodology & Definitions

The creative attention scores are provided by Realeyes’ PreView, which measures the facial queues and eye movements of participants as they watch video from desktop and laptop computers, and mobile devices. Each ad received over 150 views among participants representative of the U.S. general population.

  • Quality Score: a composite metric reported on a scale of 0-10 and measures a video’s ability to perform in market. It includes three critical elements: Capture, Retain and Encode.
  • Capture: Ability to capture audience attention in the first few seconds.
  • Retain: Ability to retain the audience throughout the ad.
  • Encode: Ability to encode the brand message into the brain through emotional engagement.
  • qCPM: An estimated cost of one thousand quality media exposures based on Capture, Retain and Encode performance, and derived from a nominal cost of one thousand impressions (CPM).

Creative Efficiency: the extent to which a creative captures the full value of a nominal CPM based on attentional scores; calculated by dividing a video creative’s CPM by its qCPM.

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