Why Taking A Gamble At The Super Bowl Can Really Pay Off

Just over 98 million viewers tuned into last year’s Super Bowl live broadcast last year — the fewest in 11 years.

The game, which saw the New England Patriots beat the LA Rams 13-3, was heavily criticised by many fans for being too defensive, with neither team taking any chances.

These risk-averse strategies were not just limited to the playing field, with the majority of Super Bowl advertisers also playing it safe with their content, which was reflected in various marketing stats.

Unruly tested last year’s crop of ads using its UnrulyEQ testing tool and found that overall Super Bowl 2019 failed to reach the level of performance of some recent Super Bowls.

For example, when compared to the 2016 Super Bowl, 38% of viewers overall said they would share 2019s Super Bowl ads compared to 40% in 2016, while 41% said they wanted to find out more after viewing the ads compared to 43% in 2016. And 42% were willing to make a purchase off the back of the ads, down 5% compared to 47% in 2016.

However, Super Bowl 2019 was a slight improvement on the previous year, with Super Bowl 2018 scoring 37% for shareability, 35% for finding out more and 38% for purchase intent.

2019s ads were also unremarkable on an emotional level compared to the past four years we’ve been testing Super Bowl ads using UnrulyEQ. The only emotion that scored highly was Hilarity, with 11% of viewers stating they laughed at the ads, just a 1% increase on 2018.

One of the few ads that did take a risk was Microsoft’s ‘We All Win’, which showcased its gaming console’s Adaptive Controller, designed to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.

This spot is the most emotionally engaging Super Bowl ad we’ve ever tested. Forty-two percent of respondents felt inspired by the ad, a huge increase on the US average of 10%, while 35% said the ad made them happy, again much higher than the US norm of 13%. Feelings of warmth (35%) while watching the creative were also a lot higher than the US norm of 8%.

This translated into powerful business metrics, with the ad dominating the top of last year’s charts in brand favorability (68% compared to a US norm of 39%) and brand recall (72% compared to a 61% US norm).
The second most emotionally engaging ad from last year’s Super Bowl behind Microsoft was Google’s 100 Billion Words.

Like Microsoft, Google took a risk with its 2019 Super Bowl ad by not going down the traditional Super Bowl ad approach of trying to make people laugh. Instead, they chose to take audiences on an emotional journey around the world to showcase the translation services offered through Google Assistant.

The ad scored a huge 90% for credibility and authenticity, and 88% for relatability, indicating viewers felt the ad rang true to their experiences and perceptions of Google’s translation software.

The campaign also scored highly for brand recall (76%), most likely due to the use of both audio and visual branding, combined with the familiarity of the brand and lingering on the end-screen to allow viewers to ensure a strong link back to the brand.

As previously stated, the ad evoked an intense emotional response among viewers (47%), well above the US norm (31%).

The emotional response was led by feelings of warmth (26%), happiness (25%) and inspiration (24%), all above the respective US norms.

The high levels of warmth and happiness were most likely related to the ad featuring a number of relationships and human connections throughout the ad. Meanwhile, inspiration was likely dually fuelled not only by the narrator telling an inspirational story of the power of words but also by the ad depicting a wide range of ways in which you can use Google Translate, which viewers might not have been aware of previously.

With Super Bowl 2020 on the horizon, it’s going to be interesting to see which brands choose to take a risk this year and whether it pays off.

Once again, we’ll be running this year’s Super Bowl ads through their paces with UnrulyEQ to discover how well they are resonating with audiences. Keep an eye out for our research, which we will begin publishing over the coming weeks!

Find out more about UnrulyEQ

The most anticipated event of AdLand has come and gone.  Aside from a few standout ads, Super Bowl 50 was advertising “light.”

Sharing of the top 10 ads was down 36% compared to last year. The Super Bowl was low-scoring on the field, and the creative standard was generally low-scoring as well.


The Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl of advertising. Besides celebrating the abilities of muscle-bound giants to run into each other at full speed, Super Bowl weekend has also traditionally been a showcase for the biggest, flashiest and weirdest advertising the world’s biggest brands have to offer.


Ah, the Super Bowl. The Big Game. Americans far and wide will be hoping their teams get through the play-offs and make it to the biggest game of the year at Levi’s Stadium on February 7. Marketers, on the other hand, are gearing up for a different type of game.

Nielsen reported last year’s Super Bowl was the most watched TV program in US history, with a staggering 114.4 million viewers tuning in to watch the game. And if that wasn’t enough, CBS will this year be live streaming the whole game online – ads and all – at the same time. At $5 million for just 30 seconds, brands will be hoping to make every second count next month.


With any upcoming sporting event, people typically fall into one of two categories: either you’re impossibly excited or you don’t care at all. Not so with the Super Bowl, which kicks off its 50th outing on next month at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clare.

Despite featuring the world’s least comprehensible sport, the Super Bowl has managed to safeguard itself against viewer fatigue by turning itself into an all-singing, all-dancing, meme-producing circus, with star-studded advertisements as one of the main attractions.


It’s surprisingly difficult to make a genuinely funny advert. Don’t believe us? Just ask any brand that’s tried and failed.

Here at Unruly, we’ve spent much of 2015 noting the roaring success of brands which take emotion seriously. Whether that’s through ‘sadvertising’, ‘dadvertising’ or any other convenient rhyming epithet, it’s becoming more clear that powerful, sentimental hooks are a reliable indicator for strong social sharing. But what about humour?


Online ad shares increase 82.3% from previous year as movie trailers dominate top 10 most shared commercials of Super Bowl 2015

A Budweiser ad has won the Super Bowl for the third time in a row. The beer brand’s “Lost Dog” commercial attracted 2,168,530 shares across Facebook, Twitter and blogs, according to data supplied by video ad tech company Unruly*, making it the fourth most shared Super Bowl ad of all time.

It’s the third successive year the Anheuser–Busch InBev brand has had the most shared ad of the Super Bowl. In 2014,  “Puppy Love”, won the Big Game after generating 1.31 million shares the day after Super Bowl Sunday.“Brotherhood” also won at a canter the previous year, attracting 1.5 million shares. The ads currently have 2.91 million and 2.04 million shares respectively.

Released online on January 28, “Lost Dog” generated most of its shares (1.9 million) before Super Bowl Sunday and is on course to surpass their “9/11 Commercial” from Super Bowl 2002 (3.48 million shares) as the most shared Budweiser ad of all time.


The Super Bowl is this Sunday, but you don’t need to care about American football to feel the event’s shockwave already. Rivalled only by the Olympics and the World Cup, the Super Bowl is perhaps advertising’s biggest day of the year, with brands, creative agencies and celebrities fighting tooth and nail to have the most talked-about spot of the game.

While the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots face off on the field this weekend, an equally tense battle has already started behind the keyboards of some of the world’s biggest brands.

The rise of social media advertising has irreversibly changed the face of Super Bowl advertising, producing hype and speculation days and weeks before the event. While the measure of a brand’s Super Bowl success was once the water cooler conversation on Monday morning, share rates and hashtags have made brand competition even more prominent.

When ads like last year’s ‘Puppy Love’ from Budweiser reached over 2 million all-time shares, it’s easy to see what the fuss is all about. With debuts, teasers and headlines dropping all week, Unruly is here to pick apart the best Super Bowl XLIX has to offer.


Beer brand dominates list of most popular Super Bowl ads, but 2011 Volkswagen ad “The Force” clings on to #1 spot in all-time list

January 14, 2015 – Despite Budweiser claiming three of the top four most shared ads of all time, Volkswagen’s 2011 spot “The Force” continues to hold onto the top spot, according to data released today by video ad technology company Unruly*.

The autos brand’s commercial, which features a mini Darth Vader, has attracted more online shares across social media than any other Super Bowl sponsor’s commercial (5,279,772 shares). However, the VW ad is no longer the most shared ad of all time after it was overtaken by Activia’s World Cup ad, “La, La, La” – featuring Colombian pop princess Shakira last summer (5,875,075) – after more than three years in the #1 position.

Budweiser appeared the most frequently on the all-time Super Bowl list, taking up almost a third of the top 10. Its tribute to the victims of 9/11 from Super Bowl 2002 (#2), featuring its famous Clydesdale horses, is the beer company’s most shared Super Bowl ad to date, attracting 3,480,685 million shares. The video trends every year around the anniversary of September 11.