The Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2013, Plotted in Minitab

Cody Steele 06 February, 2013

Various commercials valiantly vied for the attention and dollars of football Super Bowl commercial fans on Sunday. The game was decided objectively (or by the referees), but the drama of which commercials won lives on. Because we love data analysis, I gathered a little bit to see which efforts really stood out. Then I plotted the data in Minitab to explore the results.

Three top-ten lists attracted my attention:

  • True Reach by Visible Measures: The number of views on any website
  • bluefin labs: The number of mentions on Twitter and public Facebook comments
  • TiVo Rank: The rank for the number of customers watching at “play” speed relative to the surrounding 15 minutes of programming

Here’s those data in Minitab’s individual value plots:

Top-10 lists for True Reach, bluefin, and TiVo

Toyota finishes first in terms of the number of people watching on the internet. While I’m sure many will credit the strong performance of the teaser video and the presence of actress Kaley Cuoco, I have a hypothesis that many sympathetic fathers who wish the old spare tire was gone are taking solace in knowing that someone understands.

Dodge comes in first in terms of people willing to share on Twitter and Facebook. Even in an event filled with astronauts, I guess some of us still want to be farmers.

TiVo didn’t give out their numbers, just the ranking, so the individual value plot is extraordinarily orderly. But Taco Bell should feel good about the number of folks who wanted to viva young at “play” speed.

Congratulations are due to the auto industry, which had one of its members finish number 1 in two categories. Congratulations are also due to Doritos for being the only brand with two commercials on a list and to for being the only brand to appear on each list.

Of course, these measures are about behavior. Other companies mesure how people feel about the advertisements that they watch. One such company is ACE metrix, which uses a sample of respondents to score commercials based on persuasion and watchability. USA Today runs the Ad Meter poll, which, for the first time in its 25-year history, was the result of online voting only. If you signed up, you could vote. The people who volunteered for USA Today and the people ACE metrix asks tend to agree in general, but they don’t agree with the best commercials based on activity.

This scatterplot shows the USA Today Ad Meter results against the ACE score with the top finishers I congratulated from the behavioral data sets plus Budweiser as a new standout:

Scatterplot of USA Today Ad Meter Poll and ACE metrix score

Apparently, a sentimental story about a man and his horse can bring on a powerful thirst, get people to watch online, and talk about how it made them tear up on Facebook; but fewer people want to TiVo it. TiVo aside, top 10 finishes for two behavioral metrics, the highest ACE score, and the highest Ad Meter Poll score mean that Budweiser’s not just the king of beers this year. It’s the king of Super Bowl ads too.