NeuroBowl: Neuromarketing and Super Bowl 2012


Volkswagen Darth Vader ad with Sands trackingThe Super Bowl may be the biggest sports event of the year and the biggest advertising event of the year, but it’s also the biggest event of the year for neuromarketing companies. With $3 million being spent on every 30 second spot, you can be sure that lots of advertisers rang up their favorite neuromarketing firm to get a neuro-opinion on their ad approach. Super Bowl ad prices make an investment in a neuromarketing study look cheap.

There are always some neuromarketing companies that analyze all the ads being shown to declare winners and losers. Sometimes, they are on the mark – last year, Sands Research gushed over the scores racked up by Volkswagen’s Darth Vader ad, and consumer appreciation for the ad matched their enthusiasm. A few years back, an fMRI study goofed by declaring a GoDaddy ad dead on arrival; in fact, it produced the biggest web traffic boost of any ad that year (see Super Bowl Ads: GoDaddy Girl 1, Neuroscientists 0).

Sands Research

This year, several firms will be looking at the ads in depth. Sands Research will again be ranking every ad based on their measurements of viewer engagement. They use both EEG and eye tracking; this combination provides data not just on brain activity but what the viewer is looking at when the activity occurs. Here’s what a compiled “brain movie” looks like:

Innerscope Research

The new Time Warner Media Lab in New York City will be the focal point of a bowl watching party where viewers will be fitted with biometric belts, not to measure their guacamole and chicken wing consumption but to gauge their reaction to the ads. The neuromarketing technology in the lab is provided by Innerscope Research. We tried to get details of their game plan (so to speak), but at time of publication information was limited.

It’s possible other Super Bowl neuromarketing studies will be conducted this year, too. Stay tuned here for all the results!

  1. Gene Gerwin says

    In the brain movie above, it seems like almost all the activity takes place in the visual processing area (the back of the brain, if I’m not mistaken)… but, that’s probably an automatic process, no? What would you be watching to measure engagement? The frontal lobe area?

  2. Robert says

    Like Gene, I’m interested in what exactly researchers would be looking for in the EEG graph to determine what makes one ad more effective than the other?

    I’ll be honest in that I haven’t really looked much into neuromarketing myself, but the video has me absolutely fascinated now. Like how basic human psychology helped to refine ad copy, I’m really excited to read more about how neuromarketing has helped shape the ads we see today and how it will continue to change the marketing landscape.

  3. Ron Wright says

    Hi Gene and Robert –

    If you would like to learn more about Sands Research’s methodology and specifically our Neuro Engagement Score (NES) follow this link:

    We are very open about our science and believe that this will improve the field of consumer neuroscience. Also if you are members of Linked In, there is a lively Neuromarketing Discussion Group with close to 4,000 members. Lots of information on the field.

    Ron Wright
    President / CEO
    Sands Research Inc.

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