Super Bowl: Football, Advertising AND Insights showcase?

With over 100 million viewers and a 5 million dollar price tag for a 30 second spot, it is imperative that brands advertising on the Super Bowl spend their money wisely. So, for 5 years, System1 Research has been using our Ad Test solution to predict the profit potential of Super Bowl ads and audit the marketing waste on display. It was NBC who swept the prizes on game day this year, three of their Winter Olympics teaser ads scoring a coveted 5-Star rating, indicating it’s the sort of creative that left viewers feeling enough to make a difference. You can watch my personal favorite in System1 Research’s FeelMore50 Super Bowl ad ranking.

Observing with intrigue over the last 2 weeks through our brand monitoring platform, as various companies released Super Bowl ad summaries, starting the morning after game day and lasting until well after any Super Bowl ad opinion became yesterday’s news, it struck me that the chronology in System1 Research’s Super Bowl ad testing efforts tell as interesting a story about the future of our insights industry as test results reveal about the ads themselves.

In 2014 System1 Research [then BrainJuicer] started by testing a carefully selected subset of ads that aired during the Super Bowl and published a profit prediction, alongside creative guidance for each spot, more than a month later. In 2015, we tested a larger subset of game-day ads, but this time published our predictions and analysis within 2 weeks. 2016 was a seminal year, not least as a colleague and I had the pleasure of attending Super Bowl 50 and watched as the Broncos beat the Panthers on a beautiful sunny afternoon in San Jose [see pic at top!], but also as the System1 Research team tested ALL ads that aired on Super Bowl Sunday, releasing our effectiveness ranking Monday morning. It was 2017 where we managed to speed our process further; publishing our profitability ranking of ALL ads airing as the Super Bowl progressed.

By this year we’d fine-tuned our system to deliver quantitative consumer feedback on the potential of game day ads in real-time. During the 2018 Super Bowl, our team at System1 Research used our ad and brand testing tools to survey more than 7,000 consumers to accurately predict profit potential, as well as offer qualitative creative guidance, on a total of 94 Super Bowl ads, in less than 4.5 hours – we work with numbers a lot so helpful to quantify that’s an ad tested every 3 minutes! Potential of each ad to drive profitable growth was ranked, alongside 50+ pre-releases, well inside 10 minutes of audience exposure. Game changing scale and speed for our industry, business and the clients we serve.

Having pioneered the application of behavioral science to more accurately predict human behavior and profit potential of advertising over System1 Research’s first 18 years, it’s now exhilarating to witness this quantitative capability being scaled to near industrial levels, in the moment. It says much about the slow pace of change in the insights industry that this is the same speed at which our counterparts in marketing and advertising have been working for some time – many of you will remember Oreo’s real-time response to the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

Testing massive volumes of advertising instantaneously and inexpensively is tough to pull off, and though the ability to do so without sacrificing predictability is even more difficult to attain, predictive accuracy is non-negotiable. Undoubtedly, industrial scale testing is the future of market research, and with our accurate prediction of an ads profit potential, grounded in the science of how people really make decisions, we at System1 Research get closer by the day.

Our Super Bowl work  showcases that with industrial scale ad testing comes endless possibilities. Ever think about what could be done with the ability to understand the profit potential and risk of waste for every single ad airing on TV, on digital channels, launched by every brand, in all sorts of categories, in real time? At System1 Research, we’ve been wondering the same thing.


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand tracking tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

Get in touch or book a demo with one of our experts to learn more.

Get In Touch

Got a Marketing problem? We'd love to hear about it. Tell us what you're looking for and we'll get in touch ASAP.