Super Bowl LII ad scorecard: The touchdowns

Despite a 7% decline in ratings, advertising spend for last Sunday's Super Bowl LII still managed to surpass more than $414 million, the second highest year on record. With eyeballs dropping and the price to reach those eyeballs rising (average cost of 30s in the Big Game remains well over $5 million USD), there's even more pressure on advertisers to maximize return on this investment.

That starts with creating an engaging spot - one that breaks through the clutter, emotionally resonates with people, and is remembered.

So which ads and advertisers scored big points with the Super Bowl-watching public this year?

Opinion pieces abound, as do other scorecards based on media reach and survey responses.

But at Brainsights, we believe that the quality of a spot is based on its ability activate the decision-making triggers that lay deep in our unconscious mind. So, using brain measurement, we go straight to the source, recording the brains of more than 200 people in New York and Toronto while they watched the top Super Bowl ads, teasers and other content. Compiling the results across our Attention, Connection and Encoding scores, we can understand which ads broke through, resonated emotionally with consumers and drove memorability, respectively.

We’ve broken each of these out into Touchdowns, Field Goals and Sacks.

Touchdowns: Ads That Broke Through

Action, humour, celebrity, nostalgia - a range of storytelling tones, tactics and characters broke through. Here are 5 ads that scored touchdowns by grabbing audience Attention and breaking through.

5 Spots that captured Audience Attention

  1. Tourism Australia: Dundee ft. Chris Hemsworth & Danny McBride

  2. Febreze: The Only Man Whose Bleep Don't Stink

  3. Pepsi: Pepsi Generations - This Is The Pepsi

  4. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Super Bowl Trailer

  5. Pringles: WOW

Touchdowns: Ads That Drove Consideration

Stories with a unique twist or premise (Amazon, M&Ms), as well as throwbacks to dorm-room shenanigans (Natural Light) and celebration of family uniqueness (Kraft) all feature in the ads that connected at a deep, neural level with viewers.

5 Spots that drove Emotional Connection with Viewers

Touchdowns: Ads That Were Memorable

A beautiful call to celebrate diversity. A monster under the bed. One appeal to support local business, and another to 'Go Vegan'. We remember funny, rebellious, weird, beautiful. These are 5 spots that effectively drove encoding to audience memory.

5 spots that people Encoded to Memory

Click here to find out which brands had to settle for field goals, and here to find out which ads were effectively sacked by viewers.

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