Who Burnished Their Brand With Super Bowl Ads, and Who Didn't

Pepsi, Budweiser, Cars.com Get Biggest Boost in Consumer Perception

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers weren't the only big winners on Super Bowl Sunday. Brands such as Pepsi, Budweiser, Cars.com, General Electric and Bridgestone also pulled off some heroics last weekend, albeit not in the form of a dramatic last-minute, game-winning touchdown drive like the Steelers. Instead the aforementioned marketers earned their victories through 30 and 60-second spots which ran during the game and cost roughly $100,000 a second.

Pepsi saw the biggest overall increase in positive buzz among men and women, with a 23.2 point increase in positive perception about the brand.
Pepsi saw the biggest overall increase in positive buzz among men and women, with a 23.2 point increase in positive perception about the brand.
According to research group YouGov Polimetrix, Pepsi, which bought four minutes of airtime for products including flagship brand Pepsi, Pepsi Max, SoBe and Gatorade, saw the biggest overall increase in positive buzz among men and women, with a 23.2 point increase in positive perception about the brand.

During the week leading up to the Super Bowl, YouGov tracked advertisers in the big game using its BrandIndex service, which interviews a sample of 5,000 adult (aged 18 and over) consumers a day, to measure the consumer perception of all Super Bowl advertisers. It then measured consumer perception again the day after the game.

The before and after scores are net scores representing the percentage of respondents who have heard recent positive buzz minus the percentage of respondents who have heard recent negative buzz about a marketer.

Pepsi, CareerBuilder on top
Leading up to the Super Bowl, Pepsi had a score of 24.2. But the day after, its score jumped to 47.3. Among men, that leap was 17.7 points (23.2 prior to 40.9 after) and was even higher with women, at 20.5 points (29.8 prior to 50.3 after). Pepsi was the biggest gainer among women, while CareerBuilder's jump of 21.8 points was the biggest among men (3.8 prior to 25.6 after).

Pepsi's primary opponent on Super Bowl Sunday, Coca-Cola, went into the game with the highest scores across the board -- overall (34.6); men (33.6); and women (34.6) -- but, unlike Pepsi, it failed to make a big impact with its ads and only saw a single-digit increase in positive perception -- 8.0 overall; 8.1 with men; and 5.3 with women.

Surprisingly, Audi, one of the few automakers that has managed to perform quite well over the past few months, seems to have missed the mark with its Super Bowl spot, most dramatically with men. The week before the game the automaker's scores were at 8.7 overall, 11.9 with men and 5.7 with women. The day after the game its overall number dropped 5.9 points to 2.8 and 11.9 points to 0.5 among men. Its score remained practically unchanged with women, increasing 0.1 point to 5.8.

Surprising Audi results
Ted Marzilli, senior VP-general manager of the brand group at YouGov Polimetrix, said the Audi results were the most surprising outcome, particularly its poor performance among men.

"It was a longer commercial and ran at the beginning of the game, which may have had an impact," he said, offering up a possible explanation for the findings.

"It included some chase scenes and crashes, which would generally appeal to men, but maybe it was just a little too subtle in terms of its message. And it wasn't until the very end of that commercial that you saw it was an ad for Audi, so [Audi] had to keep everyone's attention for quite awhile," he said, adding, "I don't know if that was a mistake but that could have contributed to Audi not having a successful ad amongst men."

Audi's drop of 11.4 points was the largest among men. Heineken saw the biggest drop in the overall category of 7.0 points (20.8 prior to 13.8 after) and GoDaddy's play on the 2005 Major League Baseball hearings featuring surgically enhanced women did not go over well with female audiences. It went into the Super Bowl with a score of -0.1 and came out with a score of -6.1.

Was it worth it?
Mr. Marzilli said it was too hard to say unequivocally whether spending $3 million for 30 seconds was actually worth it.

"On the one hand you're capturing a huge audience who has the potential to view your commercial," he said. "It's not that you're really paying a premium for the Super Bowl given the size of the audience, so from that perspective it can make mathematical sense. When you look at it from the reaction that consumers have had to most of these brands, you can say there was some impact on consumers. And the real test will be over the next couple of days to see if consumers retain this message and do the scores stay elevated, and ultimately will these brands see a lift in sales or new customers?"

Buzz (Adults, 18+)
Brand Week Prior Day After Change
Pepsi 24.2 47.3 23.2
Budweiser 23.4 41.8 18.4
Cars.com 0.3 14.0 13.7
General Electric 8.7 21.3 12.6
Bridgestone 2.9 14.2 11.3
Buzz (Men)
CareerBuilder 3.8 25.6 21.8
Cars.com 1.6 22.5 20.9
Budweiser 18.1 38.7 20.6
Pepsi 23.2 40.9 17.7
E-Trade 4.5 17.9 13.5
Buzz (Women)
Pepsi 29.8 50.3 20.5
Taco Bell 8.3 24.0 15.7
Budweiser 30.9 44.4 13.5
Bridgestone 3.6 14.5 10.9
General Electric 17.9 27.7 9.9

Buzz (Adults, 18+)
Brand Week Prior Day After Change
Gatorade 22.5 23.0 0.5
Hyundai 8.2 8.3 0.1
Sprint 6.1 3.5 -2.6
Audi 8.7 2.8 -5.9
Heineken 20.8 13.8 -7.0
Buzz (Men)
Hyundai 8.5 5.8 -2.7
Taco Bell 14.3 11.2 -3.1
Heineken 18.9 10.7 -8.2
Sprint 3.9 -4.4 -8.3
Audi 11.9 0.5 -11.4
Buzz (Women)
Heineken 18.0 16.0 -2.0
Frito-Lay 21.2 18.6 -2.7
CareerBuilder 10.0 7.3 -2.7
Toyota 32.7 28.2 -4.5
GoDaddy -0.1 -6.1 -6.0
Scores are net scores. Percentage of respondents who have heard recent positive Buzz less the percentage of respondents who have heard recent negative Buzz.

Change column measure the change in Buzz score from the day after the Super Bowl vs. the average Buzz score from the week prior to the Super Bowl.

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