A Huge New Tool For Measuring Super Bowl Ads

By February 2, 2015 Blog No Comments

Fellow ad people and related marketing types, you’ll be delighted to know I’ve cracked the code on a simple, yet comprehensive new way to measure the efficacy of Super Bowl commercials. Because the last thing anyone needs is another subjective review of the commercials from an ad snob (i.e., “expert”) like me. No, let’s all raise our hands for something completely objective.

Okay, here it is. I call it the BORSPFP (Brand Objectives Relative to a Semi-Pornographic Family Portrait) Score. It’s pronounced “Bore Spiff Pee Score,” and it will surely become the industry standard the moment this goes to press.

In a nutshell, it’s all relative to the picture above.

I’ll explain. The morning of Super Bowl Sunday, my 6-year-old son was in a class where the kids were asked to draw pictures of their families. For some reason, he chose to draw his family naked. There we were, my two boys, my wife and me, with prominent genitals protruding or dangling from our elliptical bodies. The boys were rendered to be especially well-endowed, with members in ascending size from youngest to oldest. As for Mom, well, she apparently has a uniquely close relationship with the dog that requires the relocation of certain parts. I saw this masterwork when we picked him up from class, noticing that none of the other kids drew these particular appendages on their families. And I did what any mature and responsible father would do. I convinced my wife to inquire about it, while I stepped outside the room and laughed my ass off.

Point is, none of the commercials aired during the Super Bowl could possibly rise to this artifact’s performance on such measures as brand affinity (he’s an adorable kid, just take my word for it); brand recall (look how big he wrote his name); message recall (look how big he made my thing); differentiation (no other kids did the naked bit); aspiration (again, look how big he made my thing); communication of key attributes (with a bit of the ol’ hyperbole…or is it?); a certain lewdness appropriate to the occasion (take that, Carl’s Jr.); entertainment value (I’ve got the Facebook comments to prove it); and intent to purchase (if it came in a bottle, there’s not a man who wouldn’t buy it). But what these advertisers can do is use this stimulus as a yardstick—not a mere ruler—against which their spots can be measured.

The BORSPFP Score is a cumulative metric, comprised of the indicators above. Nine indicators, each measured on a scale of 1 to 10. A perfect score is 90. That’s the pinnacle of BORSPFP performance—established by my son’s naked family portrait, and the absolute best any Super Bowl spot can hope to achieve.

Here it is in practice, applied to some of the more notable advertisements from Super Bowl XLIX. As if it bears repeating, this is not just the subjective opinion of an exceptionally experienced advertising luminary. This is science, people.

Snickers: “The Brady Bunch”

The juxtaposition of an axe-wielding Danny Trejo and the antiseptic Brady family generated huge spikes in brand recall and entertainment value. However, Trejo’s loose abdomen and Steve Buscemi’s teeth made for low marks on the aspiration scale. And with a fully clothed Carol Brady, Snickers ignored the lewdness quotient altogether. BORSPFP Score: 66

Squarespace: “Dreaming with Jeff”

An excellent example of sonic branding. The combination of Jeff Bridges’s gravelly voice and delicate touch on the rim of a paint can were good for brand affinity and recall measures. But overall, this spot operated at a giant deficit, as it was just one part of an integrated campaign. And BORSPFP doesn’t recognize things like websites, impressive as they may be. BORSPFP Score: 54

Dove: “Real Strength”

A sentimental journey that scored particularly high among insecure men bothered by the proliferation of “Thank you, Mom” messaging out there. But the turn at the end to a hard product sell deflated the overall score like the Patriots’ balls. BORSPFP Score: 45

Carnival: “Come Back to the Sea”

Very strong on aspiration (people far more attractive than you’ll likely spot on an actual cruise) and communication of key attributes (vessels that clearly float on water). BORSPFP couldn’t help but notice the execution was remarkably similar to the Ram “God Made a Farmer” spot from a couple years ago. And creationists lowered its score on all measures. BORSPFP Score: 44

T-Mobile: “Kim’s Data Stash”

Performed well on communication of Kim Kardashian’s key attributes. But affinity was mixed. And as significant as her proportions are, she’s still symmetrical, which isn’t nearly as differentiated as, say, a side butt with a dog attached to an undisclosed body part. BORSPFP Score: 39

Best practices are changing. More and more advertisers are revealing their commercials in advance of the big game, spoiling the surprise in favor of jacking up the KPIs to maximize ROIs. While it seems many people don’t care for this development, that is not our concern. That is anecdotal and subjective.

It has never been more important for brands paying the premium to be a part of this enormous cultural event to have a holistic, quantified, unambiguous view of what they’ve gotten for their money.

And now they have it. Big time.


About the Author:

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John Carstens, ECD+Writer- Freelance

John Carstens is a seasoned and cured creative director, and copywriter by trade. He’s pitched, preened and written his prose at the likes of SapientNitro, Cramer-Krasselt and TBWA\Chiat\Day, and to show for it, has a plastic crate filled with awards in his basement. He’s currently freelancing nationally while residing in Chicago with his two mildly eccentric children and tolerant wife. Follow him at Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram @carstensible.

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John Carstens

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A Huge New Tool For Measuring Super Bowl Ads