Poll: 2017 Super Bowl Ad Preview – Winners And Losers

Matthew Westfall

Matthew Westfall

Associate Marketing Director

In our last post we discussed the growing trend of brands pre-releasing Super Bowl commercials before the Big Game – and how it’s created a huge opportunity for advertisers to connect with consumers days, sometimes even weeks before kickoff.

Sure, we may have bad-mouthed the whole digital pregame phenomenon, but it doesn’t mean we can’t take part in the action this week!

As marketers, we’re constantly monitoring where cultural activity is gaining traction and where trends are taking shape in the consumer landscape.

While sports and ad enthusiasts eagerly anticipate what may be the biggest day of the year for both industries, we felt it only appropriate to tap into the litany of pre-released spots and do a little crowd testing – with our own agency staff, of course.

We set out to evaluate perception of those ads released in advance of the game – surveying agency staff members on metrics such as favorability and memorability, as well as likelihood to drive purchase and connect with audiences.

All in all, we screened 20 ads from some of the biggest names in the industry – some first-timers and some Super Bowl Ad Hall of Famers, including: Audi, Bud Light, Budweiser, Buick, Ford, Mr. Clean and Wendy’s, to name a few.

Check out our infographic below for a breakdown of the results in our inaugural Super Bowl Ad Winners and Losers Poll:

2017 Super Bowl Ad Winners and Losers
Peter Mayer Ad Winners & Losers Poll

Top-5 Best Performers

1 – Mr. Clean “Cleaner of Your Dreams” 

Out of the 20 spots screened, Mr. Clean was far and away the strongest performer across the board for favorability, ad recall, audience connection and driving intent to purchase.

The ad mixed in just enough humor and ridiculous flair, as it connected with both male and female audience segments – ranking highly in all categories.

Sexualized content overtly targeting women? Sure, but that’s not a bad thing. According to Nielsen data, women now make up 46 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience – a number that continues to rise.

2 – Mercedes-Benz “Easy Driver” 

In their fourth ever ad sponsorship of the Big Game, Mercedes-Benz tapped Oscar-winning director-brother duo, Joel and Ethan Coen, for a riff on 1969’s classic Easy Rider – starring Peter Fonda.

If you’re a Millennial or younger, this ad may not be for you. It was appreciated more by our 30+ colleagues and most by our 40+ colleagues. But both men and women loved it, as it was the fourth most-liked ad among women and third for men.

3 – Audi “Daughter” 

In a time of political and social unrest, as women’s marches and protests are being held around the country, German automaker Audi took aim at gender pay inequity with their spot titled “Daughter.”

Although our colleagues were skeptical of its ability to inspire purchase, the spot performed extremely well in memorability and favorability – particularly among women.

If Audi is specifically seeking to appeal to women with this ad, then it hit a home run with the women of Peter Mayer. It was the second most-liked ad among our female colleagues, while placing seventh of twenty among men.

And if recent trends are any indication, an automaker targeting women in their marketing should come as no surprise, as a 2015 study from CDK Global noted that women now influence 85 percent of car-buying decisions.

4 – Buick “Not So Pee Wee Football”

Buick returns for their sophomore Super Bowl run, going for the double-whammy when it comes to celebrity endorsers – casting Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, and world-famous supermodel, Miranda Kerr.

The spot was well received across the board in our survey, with a slight edge in favorability seen among female audience members. Three days after posting on YouTube and the ad already has 1.4 million hits – that’s a lot of eyeballs.

5 – Skittles “Romance” 

Skittles returns with their third consecutive Super Bowl installment this year, and for those of you expecting an over-the-top, outrageous unveiling – you won’t be disappointed.

Matt Montei, Senior Director of Confections and Seasonal Business for Mars’ Wrigley, described the spot, saying “Imagine a love story brought to you in a way that only Skittles can tell it and then you can imagine it will poke some holes in reality along the way.”

As with other leaders in our survey, the spot was well received and a strong performer across the board. Interestingly enough, it was men who rated the spot at the top of their list for favorability, while it registered sixth among women surveyed.

While there’s sure to be some surprises come Super Bowl Sunday, the bar has been set high by those ads released early.

Stay tuned following the game as we’ll be covering additional insights into ad performance on various social channels and providing an analysis of brand types that advertise during the Super Bowl.

Can’t wait that long? Hop over to Peter Mayer’s Twitter during the game as our CCO, Josh Mayer, will be live tweeting his thoughts around what ads hit and what ads missed.

For more Peter Mayer Cultural and Consumer Insights click here.

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