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Disappointed with this year’s Super Bowl ads?
That’s OK, because according to Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, a company that measures the “creative effectiveness” of ads, we’re likely to see a major increase in good ads over the next few years as “failure rates go down.”
It’s taken some ad agencies a bit of time to recognise that what worked in the past doesn’t necessarily work now. But most of them have begun to employ companies like Ace Metrix to find out what ads are working, and what should be abandoned.
Ace Metrix follows a simple formula. After an ad is released, 500+ consumers around the country are asked to fill out a uniform survey that provides Ace with a reading of the effectiveness of the ad. Here are the results from Sunday’s Super Bowl, the showing which ads rated the highest:
Using Ace’s system (not just on Sunday, but all year round), Daboll has discovered some surprising results. Namely, celebrities don’t help ads. In fact, they can often hurt them:
“The celebrity generally is polarising — you have some people that love the celebrity and some people that hate it. So right off the bat, unless it’s a very rare celebrity, you usually have some polarising effect where somebody doesn’t like it. And I think they’re just not relevant to the storyline. If it’s not relevant to the storyline, why have them? You don’t need a celebrity in it to make it funnier, and in fact most of our data says that if you take a commercial and you throw a celebrity in, it’s going to perform worse than if you don’t.“
Companies must also pay extra money to celebrities on top of outrageous fees from TV networks, so celebrities just aren’t as helpful for ads as they once were. In fact, this year’s biggest hits — Doritos and Pepsi Max — were acted out by every day citizens.
The other major problem that Daboll sees with many Super Bowl ads is that they focus on very small demographic groups. For such a huge audience (around 111 million this year), the goal should be to capture the attention of as many people as possible. Daboll says that beer companies, for example, may have only tested their ads on males between 21-25 years old, and may have seen good results, but they need to encompass a much greater audience.
You can see that pattern in the ads that scored poorly:
The good news is that most agencies have hired analytic teams like Daboll’s and so he expects that those two key issues with ads will be corrected in the coming years. That means we should see more ads with clear storylines, without celebrities, and that we can all relate to.
But the biggest question remains: is it really worth it for companies to pay in excess of $3 million for a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl?
“For the effective ads, yes. For the ineffective ads and the ones that have a very narrow target and wind up offending half the population, no. If your ad appeals to a broad demographic, and in fact, your product does too, it’s still the best way to get their attention.”
NEXT: Daboll breaks down the best and worst Super Bowl ads >
*Definition: Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 0-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as relevance, persuasion, watchability, information, attention, etc. (via Ace Metrix)
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