February 2, 2011: There is some good news and some bad news, and even some ugly news, for marketers who will be running ads on Fox during Super Bowl XLV.
The good news for such companies as Pizza Hut, Pepsi Max, Sketchers, Hyundai and GoDaddy.com is that they can expect the most ROI for their 30-second spots, which this year cost between $2.7-$3 million.
The bad news for companies including Chrysler, E*Trade, CarMax, General Motors, Cars.com and several Hollywood studios is that they can expect the least ROI for their investment, according to a survey conducted by Brand Keys, a brand and customer loyalty research consultancy based in New York.
The ninth annual Brand Keys’ Super Bowl Engagement Survey was conducted the third week of January among a national sample of 2,000 men and women, 18–65 years of age, who indicated that they were going to watch Super Bowl XLV. The research examines the 29 brands reported in industry publications as having purchased spots.
According to Brand Keys, the survey was created to "predictively measure consumer’s true reactions to brands within the context of the medium."
“This is more than Monday-morning, creative quarterbacking. Day-after creative reviews are always interesting, have a high ‘water cooler effect’ and elicit lots of chatter," said Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys.
“But advertisers should remember that ‘buzz’ comes in two frequencies: positive and negative. ’Wasn’t that terrible?’ generally isn’t a phrase that appears in creative briefs.’ And even setting aside the question of quality creative, the survey brings into harsh relief the more important question being articulated: Does the ad buy actually do anything for the brand’s bottom line?”
The Brand Keys’ Super Bowl Engagement Survey shows that this year, more advertisers, some 55%, will see substantial ROI on their spots than last year, when the survey indicated that only 38% would see substantial ROI.
Groupon, Sketchers (featuring Kim Kardashian), Pizza Hut, GoDaddy and Hyundai are the five advertisers that will get the highest return on their Super Bowl ad investments. But aside from Hyundai, an overload of automotive advertisers, with some ten scheduled to run spots during the game, means that Chrysler and Chevrolet are likely to see the lowest returns, and CarMax and Cars.com likely to experience ROI that could turn ugly, per Brand Keys.
Why was Hyundai able to break away from the automotive pack? Perhaps because of the two light-hearted spots they are scheduled to run. "Hypnotized" and "Deprogramming," will, according to the car company, attempt to "hypnotize 100 million viewers simultaneously through a kaleidoscope of graphics featuring compact car stereotypes paired with a soothing voiceover declaring, among other things, 'Compact cars can be more.' Once the viewer is fully entranced, the voice calmly brings them back to reality, saying, 'Snap out of it, man.' "
“More and more, clients want to know more than that their ads were ‘seen,’ and with 30-second spots selling for $3 million, this becomes a whole new ball game for brands," said Passikoff. "Calculating ROI gets particularly complex when you need to work in consumer-generated content, social networking efforts and contests. It helps to know that the foundation of your campaign is reinforcing your brand.”
According to Passikoff, engagement assessments are separate and apart from how many eyeballs were watching and are a "reality check" that lets advertisers know how super their media buys actually are. “It has nothing to do with ‘being watched’ or of consumers ‘being aware,’ and has everything to do with being emotionally engaged with the brand,” said Passikoff. “That’s vastly different from just being entertained. A laugh or a tweet is not an acceptable return on an investment of this size.”
"Calculating ROI gets particularly complex when you need to work in consumer-generated content, social networking efforts and contests."
Brand Keys explained that results correlate highly with consumer behavior, and are reliable predictors of future brand purchase behavior. “Think of it as identifying how the media reinforces — or in some cases, degrades — brand values,” said Passikoff.
Passikoff explained that, for the study, "all brands have been calibrated to 100%. The return that you want to see for your investment is a minimum increase of 7 percentage points added to your brand’s equity to ensure you’re getting a real return on a very expensive investment.”
Assessments for this year’s Super Bowl advertisers, per Brand Keys (in alphabetical order):
Advertiser/Super Bowl ROI (+/- %)
Anheuser-Busch Bud Light: +8
Audi of America: +5
Best Buy: +9
GM Chevrolet: 0
Paramount Pictures +2
Pizza Hut +10
Universal Studios +2