Super Bowl TV Ad Winners – Part 1
06 February 2019 • tvsquared
Meg Coyle,
MarCom Director

Super Bowl LIII was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, with the New England Patriots winning 13-3 against the L.A. Rams. But who among the “third team” – the TV advertisers – scored the most response with game-day ads? Costing $5M+ a pop, which spots generated the most response, and which ones left viewers feeling “deflated?” (Pun intended or not, depending on how you feel about the Pats!)

For the fourth year in a row, TVSquared analyzed the impact that TV had on digital traffic for Super Bowl advertisers. While there have been many Super Bowl ad critiques, they are all subjective. Our analysis is based on data, and data doesn’t lie.

Humor, Irreverence & the Unusual Win Out

The TV spots that drove the most response during the Super Bowl were humorous, irreverent and, at times, flat-out strange! While there were many contributing factors, one theory is that the controversies that pervaded the the NFL season led to “controversy fatigue” among viewers who gravitated and engaged more with ads that were funny and different.

And while light-hearted ads have always been popular, it doesn’t mean they always win out when it comes to performance.  In TVSquared’s 2018 Super Bowl analysis, Stella Artois’ ad with Matt Damon overwhelmingly drove the most response across the country.

Alcohol Category

  • Winner: Stella Artois
  • Runner Up: Michelob Ultra

The Dude abides, indeed! Stella’s spot drove the biggest percentage lift among all alcohol advertisers. In fact, engagement didn’t die down until 30 minutes after the spot aired.

The interest generated was almost identical for the brand name as it was for Jeff Bridges, Sarah Jessica Parker and the term, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Michelob Ultra also had a huge increase over a larger baseline starting point. But its “robots miss all the fun” ad didn’t quite cut it over Stella for the largest percentage increase during the game.

Auto Category

  • Winner: Mercedes Benz
  • Runner Up: Kia

While Kia’s “we’re not famous” spot generated the greatest percentage uplift, we didn’t name it category winner. Kia’s baseline was considerably low, causing a dramatic spike. The clear winner was Mercedes Benz, which generated considerable interest before, during and after the game.

The game was held in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz stadium, which could have contributed to the ongoing interest. But the auto brand’s spot was light-hearted and peppered with celebrity sightings – both of the human and animated variety. And as we’ve seen in other successful ads from this year’s game, those elements helped drive significant interest.  

Film Category

  • Winner: Marvel’s “Avengers: End Game”
  • Runner Up: Marvel’s “Captain Marvel”

The Marvel franchise was the clear winner across the U.S., with both “Avengers: End Game” and “Captain Marvel” dominating online interest. While both films were head-to-head with post-spot uplift, interest in “Avengers: End Game” continued strongly throughout the rest of the game.

Tomorrow, we’ll go through the rest of the category winners for personal care, food and soft drinks, and reveal the overall TV ad winner that rules them all! We’ll also have some fun on Friday, looking at the athletes, entertainers and spokespeople that made the biggest splash.