The Emotional Impact of the Top Super Bowl Ads 2017

The Super Bowl took place last weekend, with over 100 million people tuning in to watch the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons. The massive viewership has created one of the most expensive advertisement time slots. Every year large companies spend millions of dollars carefully crafting ads with the goal of being noticed and becoming the most talked about Super Bowl ad each year.

Emotion analysis can help advertisers to understand the emotions driven by their advertisements. This insight can provide knowledge behind customer reactions and reasons for those reactions.

We used our emotion analytics tool Emotics to analyse over 10,000 mentions of the Super Bowl advertisements online. We uncovered who won the best emotional reaction to try to understand which tactics work best i.e. the use of influencers, ads with an important message or just good old fashioned humour.

The Adorescore


Celebrity Endorsements

The use of celebrities in advertising is tried and tested. They have great influence over their fans but can be a very expensive strategy.

Honda – #PowerOfDreams

Honda used a whole host of household names in their yearbook-themed ad, with stars including Amy Adams, Missy Elliot and Steve Carell. The ad goes through past yearbook pictures of celebrities who provide a voiceover telling the audience how they chased their childhood dreams.

The throwback ad placed in our top three with an Adorescore of 54. The key emotion driven by the ad was trust, with many people expressing feelings of inspiration from stories from their favourite celebrities.


Kia – #SmarterWay


Kia used one of the top comedians of the moment, Melissa McCarthy. The ad showed Melissa embarking on a “Hero’s Journey”, saving everything from whales to the polar ice caps. The slapstick humour of Melissa’s bold adventures led the ad to conclude that there is a #SmarterWay to do things.

The comedy ad received a positive reception with an Adorescore of 52. The emotion most prevalent on Twitter was joy. Mentions of love for Melissa McCarthy and the comedy elements drove the most joy.


Bai – #BaiBaiBai

Bai, an antioxidant infusion drinks company, took advantage of having an A-lister as their Chief Flavour Officer. The ad featured Hollywood legend Christopher Walken quoting the lyrics to NSync’s “Bye Bye Bye” as former member Justin Timberlake watches on.

The drinks ad gained an Adorescore of 42 and ranked number 6 on our list. The main emotion associated with the ad was trust, stemming from the associations with the two legends.

Those with an Important Message

Some brands used this prime time advertising opportunity to spread a more important message to the American and the world at large.

Budweiser – #ThisBudsForYou

Budweiser placed top on our emotional scale with an Adorescore of 57. The highly relevant ad told the story of an immigrant coming to America and the highs and lows of the journey. This ad was widely recognised for addressing a highly debated topic that America is facing today with the recent Trump travel ban.

The poignant ad led to high levels of trust and interest with many people praising the beer brand for addressing such an important topic. The pro-immigration ad did generate some backlash with those who support the travel ban calling for people to #BoycottBudweiser.

Audi – #DriveProgress

Audi placed second on our list with an Adorescore of 55. Their ad told the story of a father trying to understand how to explain the issue of the gender pay gap to his young daughter. The ad concluded with Audi boldly stating they are advocates of equal pay for equal work.

By addressing the highly relevant topic of gender equality the Audi ad drove high levels of trust from people thanking Audi for promoting such an important message and praising them for their commitment to equal pay.

AirBnB – #WeAccept

Accommodation company AirBnB used their Super Bowl slot to promote equality for all by using the hashtag #WeAccept. The ad shows a diverse group of people and that read: “We believe that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

Mentions of the ad contained high levels of joy as people expressed their love for the ad and the message it promotes.

Just for Fun

Some ads decided to go down the comedy route for their Super Bowl slot.

Mr Clean – #MrClean

Mr Clean is one of the most talked about ads of the Super Bowl. The ad featured an impressively muscular computer generated “Mr Clean” dancing provocatively around the kitchen while cleaning the whole house. The advert ends with the message “You gotta love a man that cleans.”

Our analysis gave the ad an Adorescore of 42. This ad didn’t provoke as high of an emotional reaction as its political and thought provoking counterparts but the overall emotions were still positive. The main emotion expressed through mentions was joy with many people saying how much they enjoyed the ad and even a few expressing their attraction to the computer generated Mr Clean.

Avocados from Mexico – #AvoSecret

Avocados from Mexico produced a humorous ad taking place at secret society meeting to discuss the health benefits of avocados. It features a comedic debate about what myths are true or not, which leds to the group claiming “avocados from Mexico have good fat.”

The ad placed quite low on our list with an Adorescore of 36. The mentions did contain a lot of joy for the comedic element but did not generate enough interest to take on those who placed higher on our list. Some negative mentions related to Trump’s thoughts on imports from Mexico.

Skittles – #TasteTheRainbow

Skittles placed last on our list with an Adorescore of 29. The ad featured a boy throwing skittles at his love interest’s bedroom window while the people inside the house took turns to catch each skittle in their mouth, with a fun twist.

The high level of joy was driven by those who enjoyed the humour and simplicity in the advert.


The analysis places the advertisements which carried a strong message as the frontrunners for emotional impact, although closely followed by those featuring celebrities.  These ads had the largest level of emotional impact, sparking discussion online.

So it turns out that the Patriots weren’t the only winners on Sunday night!

Adoreboard has created a way to use analytics to gain insights into people’s emotional reactions online. Our emotion analysis software that can help quantify how the world feels about your brand. To find out how our software can help you or to book free demo, click here.