With various ties to Cincinnati in our professional backgrounds given that a few of us spent time Procter & Gamble headquarters, there was some slight disappointment with the Bengals narrow loss to the Rams. However, following the big game, the team at Denneen pivoted to our annual advertising review. Using a proprietary scoring methodology outlined below, the team assessed and scored 19 advertisements, ultimately selecting Google Pixel 6 and Planters Mixed Nuts as our big game advertising winners for 2022.
Denneen’s scorecard considers 7 attributes ranging from an initial gut reaction to the predicted impact that the ad will ultimately have on sales. Other elements include the newness of the communication, stopping power, the desire to rewatch or share, if the drama supports the benefit, and if the ad will build brand equity. The various attribute scores are then compiled to arrive at a quantified score for each ad.
In addition to a powerful soundtrack, and engaging and emotional visuals, the team noted the meaningful and compelling insight behind Google’s spot, all of which led to consistently strong scores. And while the pairing of Ken Jeong and Joel McHale, which harkens back to their days on Community, was only recognized by a few, it was the engaging nature of the spot that made viewers not only think of their own eating habits, but also created a call to action to ask others how they ate their mixed nuts. A great example of commercial innovation in the absence of product innovation, cheers to Planters for getting consumers to think differently about a product that has remained largely unchanged for decades. Other notable winning ads included Lay’s and Amazon Alexa, both of which were driven by the strong star power of Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan, and Scarlett Johannson and Colin Jost respectively. Although some pointed out that it was an interesting choice for Amazon to show a benefit that is currently not possible and as the ad points out, ultimately a bad idea.
While we did not review every ad that aired during the game, Salesforce was the clear loser among those that were reviewed. Even with Matthew McConaughey’s commentary and attempts at clever digs at Facebook and Tesla, the ad fell flat, lacked production value in some areas, and ultimately just failed at creating a connection with Salesforce. Most of us were left shaking our heads after this one, especially given how many times we’ve seen this ad run in general. Others with notably low scores included Caesars Sportsbook and Polestar.
Even with a consistent methodology, subjectivity created significant differences in scores for many ads. Coinbase, with its arguably disruptive bouncing QR code, was the most polarizing, with some scoring the spot very high for its novelty and ability to drive action (scan the QR code) , while others immediately tuning out of what they described as a very boring and unengaging ad. Interestingly, Polestar, which was noted above as one of the losing spots, was also polarizing to the group. Some were completely turned off by Polestar’s direct approach, while others praised the ad’s distinct, anti-establishment approach and subtle shots at both Tesla and Audi. Other polarizing ads included Planet Fitness (those who knew of Lindsey Lohan’s sordid past scored this one significantly higher) and Frito Lay (disagreement regarding how the intended target would react was the main driver of scoring differences).
So, congratulations to Google and Planters. We are interested to better understand the business impact of these ads, as that is the ultimate measure of performance.