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Super Bowl ad analysis shows Microsoft inspires us while Doritos makes us laugh


By Lisa Lacy, n/a

January 31, 2017 | 4 min read

TV and digital video analytics firm Ace Metrix has revealed its list of the most emotionally impactful Super Bowl ads since 2010, which it says US viewers found the most inspirational, heartwarming and humorous, as well as the least relatable.

Doritos' user-generated Man's Best Friend spot for the Super Bowl was ranked one of the funniest since 2010 by Ace Metrix.

Doritos' user-generated Man's Best Friend spot for the Super Bowl was ranked one of the funniest since 2010 by Ace Metrix.

The lists were derived via natural language processing, or “scientific calculation based on the frequency of emotive words and phrases used in viewer comments,” Ace Metrix said.

“Using advanced NLP and analytic techniques, we are able to…scientifically derive emotional scores based on actual reaction among at least 500 unique viewers of each ad,” said Ace Metrix chief executive Peter Daboll in a statement.

Among the biggest winners was Microsoft, which took the top three of five Most Inspirational spots, as well as the top spot for Most Heartwarming. And, perhaps surprisingly -- and perhaps not -- Doritos swept Ace Metrix’s Most Humorous list.

“Our data has repeatedly shown that these emotionally evocative ads, whether hilarious, heartwarming or inspiring, simply work,” Daboll added in a release. “They grab our attention and create a bond with the advertised brand that lasts far beyond the :30 or :60 message – and importantly to the advertisers, influences our behavior.”

Videos of the spots follow below in order of their ranking.

Most Inspiring

According to Ace Metrix, 2015 was the year advertisers sought to inspire viewers – and Microsoft succeeded in particular by showing how technology can empower consumers. Procter & Gamble, in turn, connected by “turning a colloquialism on its head” and Toyota relied on boxing legend Muhammad Ali and paralympian Amy Purdy to spur us to overcome, Ace Metrix said.

Frequently occurring words and phrases used by viewers included “very inspiring”, “motivating”, “empowering” and “uplifting”.

Most Heartwarming

Ace Metrix said it was Budweiser’s “masterful play on our soft spot for animals [that] easily stole our hearts,” while themes of compassion and fatherhood warmed consumers as well within the last decade.

Frequently occurring words with these ads include “heartwarming”, “touching”, “emotional” and “sentimental”, Ace Metrix added.


According to Ace Metrix, Frito-Lay’s crowdsourced Crash the Super Bowl contest for its Doritos brand took full advantage of fan talent -- and it yielded all five of its funniest Super Bowl ads.

Frequently occurring words and phrases used with these ads include “funny”, “very funny”, “laugh out loud” and “humorous”, Ace Metrix said.

“What Were They Thinking?!”

“Strange, nonsensical, or just way, way out there, these ads saw few of us connect to the creative,” Ace Metrix said. “While some approaches may be edgy and grab attention, they often only work with a certain demographic, leaving the rest scratching their heads.”

Frequently occurring words associated with these spots include “gimmicky”, “weird”, “fake”, “boring”, “not interesting” and “didn’t get it”, Ace Metrix added.

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