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 sandsresearch.com.

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