Top 10 Super Bowl Ads Named

Most of us have gotten over our short-lived obsession with the 2009 Super Bowl ads, but at neuromarketing firm Sands Research technologists have been slaving away analyzing all 72 of those commercials. Sands measures viewers’ EEG activity to gauge both emotional and cognitive responses to ads. In addition, they collect questionnaires before and after the ads are viewed.

What makes an effective TV commercial? Dr. Stephen F. Sands, Chairman and Chief Science Officer, says,”We have found that an engaging story that maintains the viewer’s attention throughout the commercial, like this year’s Bridgestone Tire’s Taters (Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head) commercial or Coke’s Heist spot with the animated insects stealing a bottle of Coca-Cola, provides an overall strong and sustained brain response and a better measurement of favorable brand opinion.” Here are Sands Research’s top 10:

1. Bridgestone / Taters – 5.04
2. Coke / Heist – 4.62
3. Pixar / Up – 4.40
4. CareerBuilder / Tips – 4.40
5. Budweiser / Clydesdale Circus – 4.39
6. Universal / Fast and Furious – 4.37
7. GE / Scarecrow – 4.29
8. Taco Bell / Overrated – 4.28
9. Pedigree / Crazy Pets – 4.23
10. NBC / LMAO – 4.20

The number following each ad is what Sands calls the Neuro-Engagement Factor (NEF).

The worst scoring ad in 2009 was E-Trade’s Talking Baby ad, which scored a mere 2.61 on the NEF scale. Sands attributed the poor showing, at least in part, to the fact that a similar ad had been running throughout the preceding year.

Check out the complete comparative scoring of the 2009 Super Bowl ads at


This post was written by:

— who has written 984 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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3 responses to "Top 10 Super Bowl Ads Named" — Your Turn


Susan Weinschenk 25. February 2009 at 10:57 am

Chapter 10 in my new book! Stories… stories are so powerful, they capture and hold attention. Research even shows that the brain has a tendency to process info in a narrative format. Great blog post… thanks for reporting on the results of the ads.


Vince 26. February 2009 at 1:32 am

The potato heads were by far the best. This is an awesome top ten list, you can post this to our site and then link back to your site. We are looking for content and in return our users will track back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.


Fiona Johnson 26. February 2009 at 3:50 pm

interesting look at the ads.


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