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Who really won the Super Bowl? The Bravery Index finds out

Who won the Super Bowl? Not the game itself, which was a mere distraction (and which, by the way, the Broncos won, just in case you really didn’t know), but who won the main event, the ad breaks?

To find out just that, The Drum has partnered with Brave to revive its Bravery Index, first witnessed at the end of 2015 when the London creative agency was tasked with analysing the true emotional impact of the year’s Christmas ad offerings.

This time around the ad calendar’s true big event is subjected to biometric analysis, with 24 volunteers having their emotional reactions measured in real-time, while they are presented with different stimuli, interrogated to find out how they are responding.

To find out what ads triggered the biggest emotional response with real people, the volunteers spent several days at Brave’s lab with six of the most talked about ads from the US sporting extravaganza’s super-premium commercial breaks.

Here Felix Morgan, Brave’s innovation lead, talks us through the results…

Snickers (Bravery Index score: 54)

“In last place was the Snickers ‘Marilyn’ advert. Although it generated significant social media chatter, this ad triggered the lowest response of any of those we tested. The inclusion of Marilyn Monroe triggered a perhaps surprisingly insignificant reaction, although Martin Scorsese’s joke at the end was well received. The big redeeming factor for Snickers was its adherence to the ‘peak/end rule’, which dictates that an experience is best remembered by how people feel at the highest point and at the ending. While Snickers did not maintain engagement for its entire ad, it had a high peak and finished well, making it more memorable than its score would suggest.”

Amazon Echo (Bravery Index score: 63)

“Second from bottom was Amazon’s NPD launch for Echo, its AI assistant product. This ad failed to trigger a particularly strong response with our panel, but it did score unusually low for frustration throughout, indicating that there was a certain level of enjoyment from start to finish. People responded very well to the product shots (far better than the control average), which can possibly be attributed to novelty and general interest in the category. The inclusion of Missy Elliott’s music at the end was well received and left people feeling positive.”

LG (Bravery Index score: 68)

“Possibly the biggest budgeted ad of those tested, this blockbuster – directed by Ridley Scott, no less, and featuring Liam Neeson – proved incredibly divisive. It had the highest frustration score of the six ads and people responded very badly to the product shots later on. There was a spike in confusion levels and a drop in joy at the end, signifying disdain for the advert in general and puzzlement at the tie-in to the product. While this ad was middle-of-the-road overall on strength of emotion, it was significantly the worst on emotional positivity.”

Jeep (Bravery Index score: 69)

“Jeep’s commercial was most notable for being the first to have been shot primarily for mobile, changing aspect ratio to portrait instead of the usual TV-screen landscape. In the press, it was widely considered to be a smart and emotional piece of film-making. However, the biometric reaction we recorded was not particularly desirable, with a high presence of sadness scored throughout. It started off well, but the strength of engagement and amount of measurable joy decreased over time; even the humorous moments failed to resonate. The music was too dominant here and did not match the tone consistently enough to resonate well with our test panel.”

Doritos (Bravery Index score: 73)

“Doritos’ was the best performing of the humour-focused ads, receiving a big spike in joy at numerous points of visual comedy. Men responded to it particularly well, showing an overall increase in engagement over time (despite a slow start – the first 15 seconds were pretty flat). Women showed a more mixed response, albeit while still finding the ad funny; there was, however, measurable disgust during the humour focused around pregnancy and babies. So, while it displayed something of a gender split, there was a very high presence of joy and a high engagement level overall, meaning Doritos was our second best performing ad of the six.”

Audi (Bravery Index score: 77)

“Of the ads we tested, Audi’s beautiful video for its R8 came out on top. There was a considerable build in emotional engagement as the video went on, as well as a gradual increase in joy once the late David Bowie’s iconic track came in and the tempo of the editing increased. Sadness also scored prominently throughout the video, although this clearly was aligned with the creative ambition. Despite not appealing to humour, like a lot of the competition, Audi’s ad received the highest Bravery Score of any of those tested.”

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