Brands wasted $67.2 Million on Super Bowl ads this year

Brands spent a total of $520.8m on Super Bowl ads this year – but was it a waste of money? According to research from effectiveness agency System1, for the best ads it’s an investment well worth making – but too much spend is still going on commercials which won’t grow brands and can’t justify the price tag.

System1 tests every ad that airs on US TV in seven major industries, asking real people how they respond to each ad emotionally to predict that ad’s effectiveness. System1 also tested every Super Bowl LIV ad and scored them according to their Star Rating system. Star Rating predicts long-term brand growth; ads that scored between 1 and 3 stars can expect a maximum of 1% potential growth, compared to over 3% for those that scored 5 stars.

Overall, advertisers work hard to justify the cost and earn the attention of Super Bowl viewers, with only 25% of ads getting the lowest 1-Star rating, compared to over 50% of average ads. Super Bowl LIV ads were also two times more likely than average ads to hit 3 stars or more and four times more likely to hit 5 stars. A score that usually less than 1% of ads reach.

But that’s still $67.2m dollars of non-working spend by Super Bowl advertisers. And another $137.2m was spent on ads that scored under 2-Stars, which we’d predict to only deliver low growth – not what marketers are looking for from such a prestigious occasion.

Jon Evans, Chief Marketing Officer at System1, said “There’s no point playing in a Super Bowl if you don’t bring your ‘A’ Game. The event is expensive for advertisers, but the opportunity for mass reach and attention is unparalleled. Our research shows that too many brands aren’t making the most of that opportunity. Simply showing up isn’t enough. The winning brands at Super Bowl justify their spend many times over by leaving audiences with lasting positive impressions that make choosing them feel easier and better long-term. For any marketer thinking of committing to a huge event like the Super Bowl, avoiding that waste by testing creative to ensure it makes the right emotional impact with audiences must be a top priority.”

About System1

System1 Group PLC [LON: SYS1], formerly BrainJuicer, has pioneered the use of behavioural science to produce and predict marketing guaranteed to drive profitable growth. System1 Group was founded in 2000 by CEO John Kearon and is publicly traded on London’s AiM (Alternative Investment Market). System1 has pioneered the use of behavioural science to better predict marketing that guarantees profitable growth. It’s been named ‘Most Innovative Company’ by GreenBook (6 years in a row), Best Research Agency by Marketing Magazine and twice received ESOMAR’s Best Methodology award. System1 Group is headquartered in London with offices across Europe, in North America, Brazil, Singapore, and Australia. For more information go to


System1’s Test Your Ad tool measures the emotions an ad generates in the consumer and the intensity of that emotional resonance. This leads to a Star Rating – a 1-5 Star scale (which can be subdivided for greater nuance). The Star Rating predicts long-term brand growth. It measures the potential for creative quality to act as an amplifier for investment. Given equal relative investment (10 points of ESOV) 1-Star will lead to 0% brand growth; 2-Stars is 0.5%; 3-Stars is 1%; 4 is 2%; and 5-Stars is 3%-plus. 

Source: System1

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