Microsoft’s Story of Hope & Inspiration Captures #1 Spot in the XLVIII Super Bowl, According to Ace Metrix

Advertisers air smarter creative in the least funny Super Bowl to date

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--Ace Metrix®, the new standard in television and video advertising analytics, revealed the top performing ads of Super Bowl XLVIII, a game whose best advertising featured heroes, inspiration and patriotism while at the same time was statistically the least funny Super Bowl in years. Microsoft took the top honors with its ad, “Empowering” a captivating story of inspiration and tenacity, earning the second highest Ace Score in history at 710. Budweiser and Hyundai tied for 2nd place with two very different creative approaches. Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” continues its winning Clydesdale streak, while Hyundai’s “Dad’s Sixth Sense” produced one of the only ads of the game to be both effective and humorous. The least effective brands this year included Carmax, GoldieBlox, and, for the second-year running, GoDaddy.

“Super Bowl advertisers seized the opportunity to inspire rather than divide this year. Many of the advertisers were smarter about their creative approach and rewarded the enormous, demographically balanced audience that is the Super Bowl. The best ads employed a range of creative strategies delivering ads that inspired, applauded and celebrated America,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix.

Statistically, Super Bowl XLVIII delivered the most effective advertising since Ace Metrix began tracking the game in 2010. Scores for this year’s game averaged 574 versus 552 for each of the past two years. Super Bowl advertisers also upped their use of celebrity, not just in the number of spots (+10% over 2013), but also in the sheer number that appeared in the ads. Radio Shack triumphed with its 80s-era, celebrity filled ad, capturing fourth place for the game while Subway and Bud Light also delivered multiple celebrities – but with less success.

Big Day for Seattle, Between the Lines and Between Breaks

Microsoft earned the title of most effective ad of the game with an Ace Score of 710, the second ad ever to break 700. Microsoft eloquently demonstrated the expansiveness of their technology portfolio as evidenced by the ad’s broad demographic appeal, scoring high on a number of dimensions including Emotion, Attention and Likeability as well as Change and Information – a difficult feat. The ad incorporated former NFL player Steve Gleason, who is currently fighting ALS, among a montage of inspiring people leveraging technology to overcome a variety of challenges while deftly weaving in Skype, Kinect, Surface and Windows.

Stories and Tributes

Super Bowl XLVIII marked a noticeable shift towards longer format storytelling. Forty three percent of ads were :60 or longer – up from 30 percent last year and less in years’ prior. Almost 25 percent of the ads in the 2014 game chose to feature stories of patriotism and heroes, including Budweiser’s “Hero’s Welcome” (Ace Score 675) which ranked fifth, as well as Coca-Cola’s, Chevrolet’s and Chrysler’s deeply Americana influenced pieces.

Not So Funny

Although as many as ever attempted humor, the game was 12% less funny than last year, with the lowest average Funny Index of the past five years. Approximately 67% of ads each year attempt humor including 6 of the top 10 ads, but advertisers used a safer, smarter approach to humor this year, vying for the relatable chuckle rather than the polarizing risks of years past.

Most Effective Ads of Super Bowl 2014*

Rank       Brand       Ad Title       Ace Score
1       Microsoft       “Empowering”       710
2       Budweiser       "Puppy Love"       681
2       Hyundai       "Dad’s Sixth Sense"       681
4       Radio Shack       “Goodbye ‘80s”       677
5       Budweiser       "Hero’s Welcome"       675
6       Doritos       "Cowboy Kid"       640
7       Heinz       "Happy and You Know It"       628
8       M&Ms       "Delivery"       627
9       Toyota       "Joy Ride"       625
10       Jaguar       "Rendezvous"       623

Least Effective Ads of Super Bowl 2014*

Rank       Brand       Ad Title       Ace Score
1       Axe       “Peace”       521
2       Wonderful Pistachios       “Stephen Colbert Part 1”       516
3       Maserati       “Fire”       508
4       Bud Light       “Epic Night Continued”       499
5       Squarespace       “A Better Web Awaits”       493
5       Carmax       “Slow Clap”       493
7       GoDaddy       “I Quit”       492
8       GoldieBlox       “Bring The Toys”       473
9       Bud Light       “Epic Night”       472
10       GoDaddy       “Bodybuilder”       432


*Definition: Ace Score is the measure of ad creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 1-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as Persuasion, Relevance, Information, Attention, Change, Desire and Watchability.


Auto Bowl

Automotive continues to dominate the air-time with 23 percent of all ads and 31 percent of the ad time dedicated to Auto brands. Hyundai tied for second overall with an effective product demonstration wrapped in a comical story of “Dad’s Sixth Sense” – the only auto ad to earn one of the top two overall Super Bowl spots in Ace Score history. Hyundai’s second ad “Nice”, featured celebrity Johnny Galecki and used humor while effectively calling attention to the car’s features, rounds out the ten most effective automotive ads.

Newcomer to the Auto Bowl, Jaguar rounds out the top 10 with a celebrity rich piece that appealed to the mass affluent viewing audience.

Chrysler’s highly anticipated ad featuring Bob Dylan earned the highest Ace Score of the advertiser’s three spots at 609 and was also the longest spot of the night, clocking in at a full two minutes.

The top 10 automotive ads of Super Bowl 2014 can be seen below:

Most Effective Automotive Ads of Super Bowl 2014

Rank       Brand       Ad Title       Ace Score
1       Hyundai       "Dad’s Sixth Sense"       681
2       Toyota       "Joy Ride"       625
3       Jaguar       "Rendezvous"       623
4       Kia       "The Truth"       621
5       Chrysler       "Made Here"       609
6       Honda       "Hug Fest"       598
7       Volkswagen       "Wings"       592
8       Chevrolet       "Romance"       580
9       Chevrolet       "Life"       572
10       Hyundai       "Nice"       558

About Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix® is the new standard in television and video advertising analytics, dedicated to delivering better, faster, and more cost-effective solutions for evaluating video advertising within competitive context. Through the Ace Metrix LIVE™ platform, companies can access timely, actionable data wherever, whenever they need to, enabling real-time advertising campaign optimization. Combining leading edge technology and patent pending methodology, Ace Metrix is revolutionizing the way marketers measure themselves and their competitive landscape. The Company is privately held and is backed by leading venture capital firms and industry leaders including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Palomar Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures, and WPP.

Follow Ace Metrix on Twitter for sustained insight: @Ace_Metrix.

Note: Ace Metrix®, the Ace Metrix logo design, Ace Score®, and Creative Lifecycle Management® are registered trademarks and Ace Metrix LIVE™ is a trademark of Ace Metrix. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


For Ace Metrix
Michelle Robertson, 646-279-5775


For Ace Metrix
Michelle Robertson, 646-279-5775