Super Bowl advertisers fearlessly go for the laugh.


With an audience as monstrous and diverse as the Super Bowl, are brands taking a risk by using humor? A study of 6,500 ads by Ace Metrix concluded that humor grabs our attention but seldom motivates action…


Humorous ads tend to garner higher levels of viewer attention, increased likeability for the ad, and improved willingness to watch the ad again in the future … however, low information and relevance on many funny ads results in creating lower desire for the advertised products than non-funny ads.”


So why are so many brands willing to spend 5 million dollars to generate a chuckle in 30 seconds? Most of us would agree that trying to be funny but failing is far worse than doing nothing at all. Let’s chalk it up to the basic human need to be noticed.




Bud Light differentiated why their flavorless beer is better than other flavorless beers (no corn syrup during brewing) and T-Mobile spoke volumes without saying a word, but only a few scored big by being clever/funny and persuasive at the same time:





Alexa turned a weakness into strong advertising.



Hyundai cleverly positioned the value of its new shopping service.




Walmart’s free grocery pickup had us all car-spotting.






Mint mobile triggered a collective gag reflex.



TurboTax was as funny as accounting 101.


Stella Artois’ pop-culture cleverness was lost on most viewers.


What did the public think? Check out USA Today’s Ad Meter to see how people voted for the Super Bowl LIII ads (strangely Walmart is absent from this list).



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