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Which Tech Advertisers Won the Big Game?

System1 reveals which gameday commercials support long-term brand building NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2023 – System1, a leader in advertising effectiveness, today unveiled the top performing tech commercials from the big game, ranked according to their long-term brand building potential. After 2022’s much-criticized “Crypto Bowl” this year saw the sector leaders like Amazon produce solid-to-strong ads which lived up to their big game billing. System1’s Test Your Ad platform predicts the short- and long-term commercial impact of ads by measuring viewers’ second-by-second emotional responses to creative. It assigns ads a Star Rating, from 1 to 5.9-Stars, based on their ability to drive market share growth. Usually only 1% of ads secure a 5-Star score. Super Bowl ads for the tech sector have been steadily average over the years. In 2020 the average was 2.4-Stars and in 2021, the average increased to 2.7-Stars. In 2022, a year that saw an increase in the number of tech ads, the average was 2.3-Stars. This year, with barely any crypto ads to bring the score down, tech had a better year and the average ended up at 2.8-Stars. The top tech ads for 2023 include: 1. Amazon - “Saving Sawyer” - 4.4-Stars A rollercoaster of emotional storytelling from Amazon, advertising their Prime shopping service with the story of a lonely dog. The ad pulls a bait-and-switch with the viewer, building up sadness and fear as you believe Sawyer’s family might decide to give up the misbehaving dog. Fortunately, they come up with a better plan. It’s the top scoring storytelling ad in our Top 10 and a classic of the genre, with a powerful emotional journey for the viewer. 2. Google – “Fixed on Pixel” – 3.8-Stars Google’s in-house ad for its Pixel phone is a straightforward product demonstration, focusing on the photo-fixing tech it uses to remove unwanted elements of your pictures. The tech is clearly appealing and Google jazz it up by involving celebrities like Amy Schumer and Doja Cat in the demos, nudging this ad higher than the average product-centric piece. 3. Rakuten – “Not-So Clueless” – 3.5-Stars Food and drink brands weren’t the only ones tapping into a macro trend towards nostalgic cultural references. Tech got in on the act too with shopping app Rakuten recruiting Alicia Silverstone to recap her iconic Clueless role as Cher Horowitz. The classic 1990s film contributes to the vibe of the ad rather than inspiring any particular story moments, as Rakuten’s ad is squarely a sales pitch. But it’s a sales pitch by Cher Horowitz, and that makes enough of a difference to land it above the tech pack. 4. YouTube – “NFL Sunday Ticket is the Cat’s Meow” – 3.4-Stars Adland has barely come to terms with memes, and now we’re looking at meme nostalgia. But if the music, TV and movies of the early 00s are getting recycled for ads, why not the piano playing cats? YouTube – the original home of so many musical moggies – used the in-your-face meme to promote its NFL Sunday Ticket channel in this cross-branded ad. Viewers were purr-fectly willing to see the cat meme back again, with this solid 3-Star performance. 5. – “Somewhere, Anywhere” – 3.3-Stars Melissa McCarthy joins up with, singing an original song written especially for this bright, cheerful and colorful commercial. With brands elsewhere having fun adapting classic songs to suit marketing messages, writing an original jingle feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. But it suits the carefree vibe of the ad and McCarthy has fun selling it, making for a good 3-Star score. Tech ads usually have two problems at the Super Bowl. One comes with the territory – their products are complicated and require introduction, which can take away from emotional impact or humor. The second one is self-inflicted – from the sexist GoDaddy ads of a decade ago to last year’s crypto giveaways, Super Bowl tech ads have a history of feeling trashy to audiences. Fortunately, this year brands kept the tackiness to a minimum and found ways to liven up the product pitches with celebrities and cultural references. “After last year’s poorly received crypto ads and a horrendous year for employment news in the sector, the Super Bowl was an opportunity for Big Tech to make people smile for once,” said Jon Evans, Chief Customer Officer, System1. “The biggest names took it, with Amazon making one of the best story-driven ads of the night and Google proving that a great product and famous names is a formula that still works. It’s the best set of tech ads for a while and hopefully a strong sign for the future.” For more information, visit ###
About System1: As the world's leading marketing decision-making platform, System1 helps predict and improve the commercial impact of ads and innovation. Our fast, cost-effective Test Your Ad/Idea platform empowers brands to test creative early and often, compare ads/ideas and access expert guidance to improve long-term brand building. System1 was founded in 2000 by CEO John Kearon and has operations in Europe, North America, Brazil, Singapore, and Australia. For additional information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn at @system1.
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