Super Bowl Third Quarter Report: Bud Gets Serious, Tide Gets Talked About

Wind back a few years and Budweiser were the kings of Super Bowl advertising, according to our brand testing platform. Their series of Clydesdales ads may have been corny and sentimental, but they hit America’s pleasure centers with immense puppy-fuelled efficiency. Since changing their strategy the beer giant has struggled to hit those heights, but this year’s effort is a return to 4-Star form. The conceit – Bud stops its beer plant to produce water – is backed up by the brand’s history of involvement in disaster relief (as its site takes pains to make clear). But it makes for an arresting and emotional central idea which is very strongly executed on screen. 4-Stars well deserved, and its inspirational mood chimes well with tonight’s high-performing ads. (NBC racked up a third 5-Star Winter Olympics ad this quarter too).

Budweiser’s own ad may not have featured any Clydesdale horses, but Tide picked up the slack by featuring the noble beasts in one of their many commercials. Tide’s Super Bowl Takeover looks set to be the ad media story of the night, but consumers have been less enthused in our tests, with only their Mr Clean spoof hitting the 3-Star mark. We’ll be running extra analysis on the campaign as a whole.

Finally, a word about trailers and teasers for TV and movies – which feature heavily every Super Bowl, but tend not to test well (partly because a lot of them are all about eliciting negative emotions like fear, which doesn’t work for commercial ads.) This year has mostly been no exception. But NBC – them again – have managed to land a 4-Star winner with their trailer for the new season of The Voice. The trailer is cut very much like an ad, with celebrity cameos – not to mention another cameo for those loveable Clydesdales!


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.

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