Survey: Super Bowl Ads Not Effective in Influencing Consumer Behavior

Super Bowl

Clydesdales and puppies. 1984’s screen-shattering hammer throw. Grannies demanding, “where’s the beef?” These images reign as some of the most iconic Super Bowl ads of all time. But as heartwarming, entertaining, or humorous as they might be, do these spots actually influence consumer behavior? 

According to a recent survey conducted by my team at Mitto, they do not. Fewer than 1 in 4 consumers (23%) stated they are likely to buy a product after watching its Super Bowl ad, questioning the multimillion-dollar investments in production and airtime.

We also found that while slightly more men (27%) than women (19%) were likely to be influenced by these grand brand awareness campaigns, both groups said ongoing personalized communications were more effective in swaying their purchase behavior. In fact, the results indicated that regular direct contact with a brand — via text message, email, or social media — was 17% more effective in prompting a purchase. 

Personalized communication with consumers is a more economical way to influence them. Given the current economic uncertainty, brands who pull out all the stops, spending millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad, might end up regretting the decision. 

Omnichannel communications are significantly more cost-efficient than a Super Bowl ad, and they are more successful in increasing customer spending. Personalized touchpoints, such as special offers, result in a more favorable view of a brand for nearly half (44%) of the consumers surveyed. Customized communications are especially effective with women, who were 25%  more likely to buy a product based on this type of contact than men. 

In addition to being extremely cost-effective, omnichannel marketing campaigns can help brands target specific consumer segments. For example, a furniture outlet could design different campaigns for demographics such as expectant parents or recent homebuyers, each of which could potentially be shopping for furnishings with offers that match their situation. 

This isn’t to say, however, that brands’ investment in large-scale ad campaigns is for nothing. Two-thirds (62%) of consumers surveyed appreciate funny Super Bowl ads, with 70% saying humorous spots lead them to view a brand favorably. If the name of the advertisers’ game is to raise brand awareness, an amusing spot can be money well spent. 

Brands can achieve both awareness and purchase intent by including relevant information in that funny ad. Seven in 10 respondents (71%) said they would be somewhat or very likely to make a purchase as long as the commercial was entertaining and on-brand in terms of product information. 

But if the goal is simply to influence consumer behavior, convincing them to go to the store or jump online to make a purchase, there are more strategic ways to reallocate the budget to achieve better results.  

— Laura Apel, Senior Vice President Marketing, Mitto

About the Author

Laura Apel

Laura Apel

Apel leads Mitto’s global marketing operations. With a background in journalism and over six years within the CPaaS industry, her focus is on increasing visibility of Mitto’s industry expertise and differentiated technology through strategic brand messaging and communications.

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