What Crosstab Software Can Teach Us about Super Bowl Ads

This year’s Super Bowl may have netted a victory for the Denver Broncos, but it was a dismal failure when it came to ads that were both likeable and effective. Sure, likability is discussed – and proved – again and again when people chatter about the high-cost spots long after the game is done. But when it comes to effectiveness, there is far less chatter in the air.

Forbes contributor Will Burns wanted to find out how ad spots in the 2016 Super Bowl fared in both the likeability and effectiveness categories. So he turned to crosstab software to analyze effectiveness and likability in a single graph.

Tallying the Score Card

The effectiveness measure came from the AdBenchmark’s ABX Index, which looks at 14 key performance indicators to determine a brand’s performance. Key performance indicators include things like message, reputation and relevance. The likability measure came from USA Today.

What happened when the two measures were put together? The results were perhaps miserable enough to leave many companies slinking sullenly back to the locker room.

Likeable and Effectiveness Don’t Always Mesh 

Likability and effectiveness were not necessarily correlated. Plenty of ads scored high on effectiveness but low on likability. Others got high ranks for likability and poor scores for effectiveness. If you’re one for averages, likability was incorrect a full 54 percent of the time.

For those who believe that any attention is good attention, at least the ads that scored high in likability were getting people talking and generating buzz for the brand.

And even ads that fell flat on the likability meter made people buy. The Schick “Robot Razors” spot, for instance, scored a sad 44 out of 63 on the likability meter. But it also beat out the very likable Budweiser “Simply Put” spot on effectiveness. Robot Razors scored 123 on the effectiveness scale, compared to Simply Put’s 96.

Biggest Winners (and Losers)

Crosstab software results showed a total of 21 ads were outright failures across the board, scoring below average for both likability and effectiveness.

The top honors for both likability and effectiveness went to Doritos, with two spots ranking above average for both factors. The irony here is that the two ads were not created by multi-million-dollar agencies, but instead stemmed from a contest that asked regular people to send in their own ad ideas for a chance at the Super Bowl slot.

Out of all the ads that aired during Super Bowl 50, only 12 made it into the likable and effective zone. Doritos earned two of those spots, with other winning brands including Colgate, Coke, Heinz, Honda, Hyundai, Intuit, Snickers, T-Mobile and Toyota.