Facial tracking shows Hershey’s’ Simone Biles is most engaging US Olympic ad

24/08/2016

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

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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 most emotionally engaging ad amongst millennials (under 29s) was Panasonic’s “Blind Soccer Challenge” with Neymar Jr, followed by Visa’s “Shopping List” and Minute Maid’s “#doingood”. Hershey’s’ winning ad ranked fourth among millennials.


  • Hershey’s’ and Panasonic both have two ads in the Top 10, both coming from the same campaign – Hershey’s’ featuring another Olympian, while Panasonic’s both feature Neymar Jr. trying different sports.


  • P&G’s quintessential Olympic ad “Strong” – part of its hugely successful “Thank You, Mom” campaign launched in 2012 – just failed to make the Top 10. Although very successful amongst over 50s, it didn’t resonate as powerfully with other age groups.


  • Adecco’s “Gymnastics” is the only Top 10 ad not to feature a known Olympian. It favours humour over drama and is an excellent example of how low-budget, great ideas can work really well.


  • TD Ameritrade, Team USA sponsor, is the only brand to make both the top 10 (2nd place) and the bottom 10 (58th place).
  • The full list can be found here

    Source: www.realeyesit.com

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