Study: Emotionally Charged Super Bowl Ads Outperformed Spots Featuring Celebrities

unruly_logo-76After analyzing the success of this year’s most shared Super Bowl ads, video metrics firm Unruly found the more popular ads relied on emotional responses versus star power.

Unruly’s The Science of Sharing: Super Bowl XLVIII report evaluated fourteen online video ads from this year’s Super Bowl, and revealed only three of the top 12 ads featured celebrities: Bud Light’s “Ian Up for Whatever” which ranked No. 5 with 201,905 shares, Jaguar’s “British Villans” at No. 6 with 163,545 shares, and Kia’s “The Truth”  ranking No. 8 with 131,451 shares.

Unruly claims that of the top 100 most shared video ads of all time, only 13 percent include celebrity appearances.

Chrysler’s spot starring Bob Dylan not only failed to rank in the top 12 most shared video ads from this year’s Super Bowl, but Unruly said 93 percent of the people who watched the video did not even know it was for Chrysler.

Of the 14 Super Bowl ads analyzed by Unruly, Cheerio’s “Gracie” and M&M’s “Delivery” earned the highest brand-recall, with 95 percent of Unruly’s survey respondents able to name the brand behind the ad.

The top three most shared video ads from this year’s Super Bowl – Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” and the brand’s “Hero’s Welcome” along with Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” – all used emotional triggers to inspire feelings of warmth and happiness.

Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad generated over 1.5 million shares:

The report determined the most shared ads elicited feelings of pride, warmth, happiness, inspiration and amazement, while staying clear of humor.

From the report:

Humor can be incredibly effective if viewers are moved to the point where they laugh out loud. However, statistics indicated that it is the most overused emotional trigger, the most culturally sensitive trigger and also the most difficult to do well.

Unruly also looked at data around when the ads were made public, comparing the performance of ads released days before the game to ads held until game day. The report shows the most shared ads were those released prior to the Super Bowl, while the least shared ads were the ones released on Super Bowl day.

2014 Super Bowl Ads: Shares Per Day January 15 – February 11

Unruly Super Bowl ad shares by day

Unruly’s US president Richard Kosinski emphasized the importance of distributing television ads for “tentpole” events like the Super Bowl in advance of the event.

“With more than 24 million shares tracked every 24 hours, the real opportunity for marketers is to connect their paid TV sponsorship with their paid media online, where their ads can be watched and shared before, during and way after the Big Game,” said Kosinski.

According to Unruly’s research, the viral peak for an online video ad usually occurs the day after the ad is released, with 25 percent of total shares happening in the first three days of an ad’s release, and 50 percent of shares occurring in the first three weeks.

The full report from Unruly can be downloaded here: Unruly Science of Sharing 2014.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Statistics: Popularity & Usage | Super Bowl | Video


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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