Hershey’s’, TD Ameritrade and Panasonic are the most engaging Olympic ads, according to a study which tracked people’s facial expressions while they watched them.
Emotion measurement firm Realeyes and Lucid, an audience platform for sourcing and understanding “human answers,” measured 4,500 people via their webcams across 66 ads from Olympic and Team USA sponsors and ambush marketers.
The winner – Hershey’s’ “Hello from Home”, featuring US gymnast Simone Biles – scored better than 92.5% of ads ever measured by Realeyes in terms of emotional engagement. This is a combined measure of how well the ad grabs viewers’ attention, keeps it and whether it leaves a lasting impression. It’s based on monitoring how 49 key facial points move during viewing.
“Hershey’s’ winning effort appeals because it doesn’t hit you over the head with the blood, sweat and tears narrative normally seen for these type of events,’ observed Realeyes’ CEO Mihkel Jäätma. “The relatively light-hearted approach proved especially appealing to women, scoring a near perfect 10 for them compared to ‘just’ 8 for men.”
TD Ameritrade’s ad, tied second with Panasonic, follows a similar pattern – the tension of a gritty start and epic soundtrack is broken with the light-hearted sight of Olympic hopefuls meeting their heroes, “It’s this contrast that drives the emotional connection with viewers,” notes Jäätma.
In contrast to these two ads, which have high peaks of engagement towards the end, Panasonic’s effort with Brazilian star Neymar Jr. trying blind soccer, scores well “because it manages to consistently build engagement and empathy throughout as he struggles to adapt.”
Top 10 Olympic Ads
Although the top three Olympic ads all scored in the top 10% ever measured by Realeyes, Olympics ads overall scored less well than those from Super Bowl 50.
Jäätma explains: “Although the Olympics is one of the biggest events for brand advertising, from an ad perspective the Super Bowl has evolved from just a sporting event to mainstream entertainment. Consequently, Super Bowl ads now have very little reference, if any, to the actual sport, whereas Olympic ads have to remain strictly “on message” which perhaps limits their creative breadth.”
At the other end of the scale, Head & Shoulder’s “Shoulders (David Boudia Prepares for the Rio Olympics)” scored worst out of all the Olympic ads – being in the bottom 7% of ads ever measured. The bottom 10 also features the Official Rio Olympic ads, “Together”.
The full scores for all ads tested are available here. To see how each ad scored throughout the duration click here.
Other selected findings:
The full list can be found here