Insight: Facial tracking shows Skittles and Mr Clean were most effective Super Bowl ads

Mr Clean and Skittles produced the most engaging Super Bowl ads according to a study that measured people’s facial expressions.

Mr Clean’s Cleaner of your Dreams and Skittles’ Romance both scored 98.0% on the emotionally compelling, or engaging, scale, which is a combined measure of how well the ad grabbed viewers’ attention, kept it and left a lasting impression. The score comes from Realeyes emotion measurement technology which tracked the facial expressions of 3,300 people via their webcams, who were provided by audience platform, Lucid.

Both ads had universal appeal across genders and age, however, the final twist in Mr Clean’s offering was a particular hit with women.

The study showed that humour was the big theme in winning people over. “Much of the talk among the advertising community beforehand was around tackling social issues such as equality and diversity,” said Mihkel Jäätma, Realeyes’ CEO. “However, the reality is that people just want to be entertained when it comes to Super Bowl ads and the brands that did this engaged most with viewers.”

For example, Budweiser’s Born the Hard Way which focused on the company’s immigrant founders and generated huge PR and social media buzz, scored only 36.3% and ranked 6th worst among the 84 ads. Airbnb’s We Accept and Coca-Cola’s America is Beautiful which also centered on social issues ranked 3rd and 2nd worst, respectively.

The appearance of Wonderful Pistachios in the Top 10 showed ads don’t need to be long to highly engage viewers (it was 15 seconds) whilst King’s Hawaiian’s relatively low-budget piece reinforces that high-production values aren’t required to successfully engage people either.

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