Your brain on dru…I mean Super Bowl ads

in Blog,, News, Reviews & Rants This article was originally published by Julian Gude on The Remarkable Blog from

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Please note that this article was written prior to Local Na8ion’s re-launch and as such the content may not be relevant for today’s audience of local marketers.

Everyone has a great time playing the role of Monday Morning Quarter BackMonday Morning Quarterback on the big game AND in the last decade that has included the T.V. commercials that run during the Super Bowl. We’ve all come to see the commercials as an integral part of the big show. There are whole legions of people who watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials. Er, my wife and I are pretty close to this latter group (no, we’re not Football haters, we just really love advertising!).

What does this have to do with local interactive advertising? Well, because online marketing is all about interaction and consumer engagement and online marketing has proven again and again to be a big winner here. The former leader in generating emotional response and engagement was Television. Anything we can learn about how these ads effect consumers is information we can use when crafting our own interactive campaigns.

Like you, I’ve read lots of reviews on the commercials with the consensus being that Fedex won this year’s battle of the commercials contest (of course there are some dissenters in this opinion). People also seemed underwhelmed by this years spots. Shannon and I really like to analyze the ads on our own and draw our own conclusions about the best ads before reading other opinions.

Our reactions.

First, we weren’t as underwhelmed as so many seemed to be.
And our pick for the best ad? The Disney World “NFL Dreamers” commercials showing various football players practicing their “I’m going to Disney World!” refrain for after winning the game. We immediately connected with the ads and felt they were the clear winner. We seem to be in the minority – at least in terms of the media pundits. Maybe we’re all wet but this story on CNET Tuesday showing that the Disney World ad was the most engaging gave us some validation. Brain image of Super Bowl ad reaction

“The researchers at UCLA and FKF Applied Research used fMRI, or functional magnetic resonance imaging, to measure the activity of brain regions associated with key emotions in viewers.”

A couple of points that really jumped out at me. First, the Disney commercials scored the highest when it came to engaging the viewer, followed by the Sierra Mist airport security ad. What is a little weird is how the Disney ad went from a clear winner on the first viewing to a big loser on the second viewing (a larger drop than many other second viewings). So, the Disney ads made the list for both most engaging and least engaging.

Since we follow the online recruitment space we were also really interested to see that Bored by the MonkeyCareerBuilder’s monkey commercials also make the ‘least engaging’ list. When you look at the actual data it looks pretty bad.

Our favorite local TV commercial? Well, there was only one to choose from. In our market we saw a commercial for an exclusive local golf community. How about you?

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the overwhelming reaction I have to this data is how ALL the ads produced high levels of anxiety! The Disney commercials, along with the others have far larger responses in the areas of threat than positive aspects like reward. I’d love to see this kind of brain study performed on interactive ads (yeah, it’s probably been done – I just don’t know of it) to see how the greater targeting and interactivity of the web would change these dynamics.

Any researchers out there want to partner up with us on this research?

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