From kickoff through the blackout and on to the Baltimore Ravens walking away victorious at Super Bowl XLVII, advertising analysts were tracking the impact of all those very expensive commercials. Automakers and their agencies were no exception here, which means there's been plenty of data logged in terms of which car spots actually succeeded or flopped.
Of course, as next-day results can't exactly be measured by counting up how many folks ran out and bought a new car, judging audience reaction can be a tricky business. As evidence, we've read through (and watched) some early analysis pieces from various sources, and none of them can agree on which commercial was the most powerful of the night. Not even close, in fact.
"Lift" is a common marketing term and basis for measuring the success of a particular piece of advertising; the term refers roughly to the improvement in audience response to a product after viewing the advertisement. Using data from Edmunds about the lift generated by auto commercials during the big game, The Truth About Cars reported that Mercedes-Benz was the night's big winner. TTAC maintained that the CLA Soul advertisement generated a whopping 3,067% of lift when it aired in the fourth quarter. The report also indicated that Volkswagen's Get Happy ad and Lincoln's Phoenix spot for the new MKZ were among the poorest performers on the night.
We've read through the early analysis from various sources, and none of them can agree on which commercial was the most powerful of the night. Not even close.
In an entirely separate study, car-number crunchers Autometrics had some dramatically different results (see the press release, below). In its report, Autometrics found the Lincoln MKZ spot to be the most successful of the evening, with an event-leading 42% "Share of Lift" and a massive 5,800% increase in "prospects."
Moving into anecdotal review of the commercials, we see some evidence that the tenderhearted ads from Ram and Jeep were winners on the evening. USA Today interviewed former General Motors and Hyundai marketing chief Joel Ewanick, who personally found Ram's Farmer commercial to be the most compelling. Ewanick reportedly considered Jeep's Whole Again tribute to American servicemen and servicewomen to be the "second-best" spot. Of course, if you ask media expert Frank Luntz of CBS to talk about his reaction data, he'll tell you that Farmer was one of the least successful ads of the game, while Kia's Space Babies commercial was the toast of the Super Bowl as far as car makers go. Oh, and Luntz also claims that the CLA spot that the Edmunds data loved was "not distinguishable." Go figure. Scroll down to watch the CBS breakdown video, below.
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Using patent-pending methodology to collate data from over 100 third party automotive websites, Autometrics scores commercials based on the immediate increase in the number of prospects wanting to contact a local dealer for a price quote within 20 minutes of each ad airing. With over 1 million prospects on Super Bowl Sunday, the results present the most comprehensive assessment of lower funnel demand for models advertised during the Kick-Off Show and Game.
Each commercial is ranked by the percentage increase in prospects in the 20 minute window after the ad aired, compared to a one hour window before the ad aired. Also shown is each model's share of the total increase in prospects during the Kick-Off Show and Game.
The Lincoln MKZ commercial succeeded in capturing the highest increase in prospects, at almost 5,800%, and commanded a 42% share of all incremental prospects generated for individual models during the entire game, a major boost for a brand in the process of being reinvented. This was followed by the Audi S8 with a 1,391% increase in prospects, Hyundai Genesis increasing 412%, followed by Kia Forte at 394% and Kia Sorento at 379%.
Hyundai's three Santa Fe ads combined to capture 12% of all incremental prospects. Toyota's RAV4 and Hyundai's Sonata ads saw modest increases, possibly due to the early release of the ad, prior to the Game.
Autometrics will be updating its website with additional results throughout the week ahead, including pre, half-time and post-game commercials, a comparison of new vehicle brand ads from Audi, Jeep, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Ram, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen and an analysis of the sustainability of any uplift in demand for the models above. Visit autometrics.com for further updates.