Every year, while the best NFL teams go head-to-head for the biggest trophy in American sports, the biggest American brands spend upward of $7 million for 30 seconds of ad space in front of the most-watched televised program year over year. That’s a lot of eyes and a lot of potential consumer cash to be won, which explains why commercials range from expensive celebrity endorsements, to provocative, to downright weird. 

And while there were over fifty different commercials entertaining America during this year’s Super Bowl, CivicScience decided to take a look at a few of the most popular brands’ attempts at making a splash. 

It turns out, that among those who saw the below ads, Bud Light did the best job at pulling in new potential customers. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Budweiser has been at the catchy Super Bowl commercial game for longer than most. 

What is a little more surprising is Anna Kendrick’s Rocket Mortgage commercial being less than engaging for audiences. This may be an indicator that even a red-hot real estate market can’t make mortgages exciting. Another dud seems to be Coinbase’s attempts at using nothing but a QR code to catch people’s interest. Somebody should tell them that nobody is really all that crazy about QR codes (oh wait, we did). 

Other interesting demographic facts include that while the most successful commercials mostly held against income and age, Bud Light over-indexed in reaching middle-income and older viewers, while GM perhaps secured a few new sales among those households making $75,000 or more and viewers 35 and older. 

Despite the wisdom of Coinbase’s decision to use a QR code for the entirety of its 30-second spot, it seems that, in addition to catching the attention of the youngest demographics, it may have also hooked in those who’ve experienced reduced pay or working hours during the pandemic (which is perhaps the sweet spot for them right now). 

But perhaps most striking of all, in as incredibly polarized a political environment as the country currently exists in, Moderates, Conservatives, and Liberals all agree, in mostly equal numbers, on the success of these particular Super Bowl commercials. 

This kind of parity rarely exists in any other arenas. 

In any case, while entertaining and occasionally successful in winning over new customers, it turns out that this year’s Super Bowl commercials didn’t change many perceptions about a company’s brand image in a positive way. In fact, more commercials were successful at making people think about that particular company in a more negative way. 

However, both Nissan and Uber Eats over-indexed among those whose perceptions of a company were changed in a positive way following their Super Bowl ad. 

Brands should be aware that a Super Bowl commercial flop can have drawbacks. This may be especially true when we cross-compare people’s perception of brands following the Super Bowl with the overall importance they place on brands as consumers. 

People who value brand over price are significantly more likely to have gained a more positive perception of a company following their Super Bowl ad. However, those who value brand over price are also nearly as likely to have had their brand perception change in a negative way. 

So, in the end, Super Bowl commercials do matter, at least to brand-conscious customers.