Superbowl XLVI Ads: Winners and Losers

Over dinner tonight with three colleagues, the conversation quickly made its way to the commercial breaks at yesterday’s Superbowl. We agreed on handful of favorites: Both Doritos spots (Man’s Best Friend and Slingshot Baby), the debut of Ms Brown for M&Ms, Clint Eastwood’s Halftime in America for Chrysler, and Matthew Broderick’s day off with a Honda CR-V. We could agree that GoDaddy’s ads were the worst. But in between there was no consensus. So I thought I’d seek out a scientific approach.

Facebook and USA Today teamed up on the Ad Meter, a broad-based poll that’s still collecting votes as well as a panel of viewers who logged their preferences as they watched. The Ad Meter’s top 5: Doritos (Slingshot Baby), Kia, Bud Light (Weego), M&Ms and Doritos (Man’s Best Friend). The worst 5 included two GoDaddy spots and two Bud Light Platinum spots.

Ace Metrix, a company that specializes in research on TV ads, applied a numerical score to each Superbowl ad. I can’t vouch for its methodology, but the company’s website says they “defined the concept of Creative Lifecycle Management” (with a trademark TM), which sounds impressive. Doritos, Clint Eastwood, Ms Brown and Matthew Broderick all took top spots — with those boring if mildly cute Coke polar bears also grabbing two of the top 10 spots. Among the worst 10, according to Ace, were three from Budweiser, one from Bud Light (Platinum), H&M (David Beckham), and that odd Century 21 spot that seemed to imply Donald Trump is one of the world’s smartest people.

The / Mullen Advertising collaboration called Brand Bowl 2012 measured the twitter buzz. While the Doritos ads racked up the biggest numbers, Ms Brown won the sentiment contest, with more than 41% of tweets about her spot saying something favorable. (If you’re a size-matters type of person, David Beckham’s spot for H&M finished second after Doritos in total number of tweets.)

Michael Learmonth at Ad Age pursued a different angle. Forget about the in-the-moment indicators such as buzz and tweets. Which ads did we like so much that we sought them out online to watch them again? If that’s the measure of success, Honda blew Doritos away. And the much-hyped VW’s Dog Strikes Back — which landed 14 spots down on the Ace survey, and #6 by Ad Meter — heads into the online competition in the #2 position, spitting distance from the trophy.

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