BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- The New Orleans Saints already have beaten the Indianapolis Colts in the popular vote, with 57% of Americans planning to watch the Super Bowl citing a preference for the Saints.
But a lot more separates Colts and Saints fans than team preference in the Super Bowl: They also have differences in wealth, gender, automotive and smart-phone makes, restaurant choices and even soft drinks that might come as a surprise to marketers heading into advertising's biggest show on earth.
Those are the findings from the ARSgroup's BrandProfiler, a tool that segments brand preferences. The Evansville, Ind.-based firm, which also serves as a copy-testing service in the U.S. for Procter & Gamble Co. and many other marketers, used the Super Bowl as a chance to show that football fans aren't as uniform as some marketers might imagine. The results are based on a nationwide online survey of 300 men and 300 women.
While the Saints beat the Colts 57% to 43% among the expected audience on Sunday, according to ARS, any other day the fan base of Colts would be bigger (among loyalists who prefer the Colts or Saints over all teams, not just among those competing in the Super Bowl). But the Colts' edge in loyalists isn't that big (only 2%) given the relative success of the franchises over the years, likely because the Saints draw loyalists from a much larger mid-South coastal region than the Colts, hemmed in to the northwest and southeast by Chicago and Cincinnati.
The Saints were more likely to pick up undecided followers of other teams, said Ashley Grace, president-business development of ARS (including President Obama). That's likely because New Orleans is relatively well known, particularly among coastal residents who swung heavily in their favor, and because the Hurricane Katrina story creates empathy, he said.
The Saints won the hearts of America primarily on the male vote. Only 34% of those rooting for the Saints on Sunday are female, vs. 48% of those rooting for the Colts.
Saints fans are more affluent than average and dislike advertising in general more than average, while Colts fans are less affluent but about average for advertising tolerance. Both Saints and Colts fans, however, like Super Bowl ads more than average, according to ARS.
Colts fans are slightly more likely to have a post-high-school education than Saints fans, but they're also less likely to have advanced degrees. Saints fans are more ethnically diverse and slightly older than Colts fans, who are also more likely to be retired or homemakers.
While Colts fans overindex both for ownership of iPhones and BlackBerrys, Saints fans overindex for Droids.
Colts fans prefer Ford, Dodge and Honda, while Saints fans prefer Volkswagen, Chevy and Chrysler.
Colts fans prefer Axe. Saints fans prefer Old Spice and both over-index for Unilever's Degree.
Colts fans overindex for Doritos, Cheetos and Coke, while New Orleans fans overindex for Gardetto snacks and Dr Pepper.
And while Colts fans prefer Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen, Saints fans are more likely than average to go for Wendy's.
For beer, the Colts fan is a Bud man, or almost as likely a Bud woman. The Saints fan is more likely to prefer Heineken.
None of this, of course, answers that age-old question of whether a Super Bowl ad, priced at $3 million per 30 seconds, can really pay out in increased sales. But ARS hopes to come to some conclusions by looking at pre- and post-game brand-preference scores for advertisers, Mr. Grace said. Generally, ARS has found that a 4% point shift in brand preference from an ad translates into a half point of share gain.
ARS predicts 148 million people will watch the game in the U.S. on Sunday, 60 million of them women.
That anticipated audience may be big, but it's still not even half the country. So who are all those holdouts? According to ARS they over-index both as white and African-American. They're less likely to have children. Some 67% are female, and they tend to dislike advertising more than average. People in the West are also more likely not to watch, which isn't surprising given that the NFL abandoned Los Angeles years ago.
Likely watchers are also predominantly iPhone users and over-index for Budweiser, which is a good thing given it's the game's biggest advertiser. Non-watchers prefer Sam Adams and Coors and the Droid.
Watchers like Ford and GMC. Non-watchers like Honda, Nissan and Toyota. In general, Super Bowl watchers tend to overindex as loyalists of American car brands, while non-watchers overindex for foreign makes.
"This probably creates a good opportunity for Honda or Nissan to buy counter-programming," said Wendy Preiser, chief marketing officer of ARS. Of course, Toyota may not want to be advertising anywhere right now, but if it's looking for a place to apologize to loyalists on Sunday, counter-programming would be it.