Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Advertising Regressing to the Mean

The vibe on yesterday's Super Bowl advertising reflects a bit of disappointment. 

Here's the trend line on the USA Today ratings for the "most liked" Super Bowl commercial in each of the last 23 Super Bowls. The newspaper uses a ten-point liking scale and they put together a small sample audience each year that is said to be generally reflective of the audience for the game.

This year, the Bud Light and Doritos "Dog Trick" spots tied at the top with 8.35 ratings.

The dotted gray line is the 8.6 average for the 23 years of data. You can notice a phenomenon known as "regression to the mean."  Ratings climbed when the scores were first reported, but now appear to be settling into an even pattern. This suggests advertisers have developed a "formula" to reduce risk.

Advertising, of course, thrives on intelligent risk-taking. Formulas are bad things when it comes to the most productive advertising creativity. So, it is probably time for some notable advertisers to move beyond slap-stick and pet tricks.

Although, they may be satisfied with "Professionally OK."

There is always next year.

Copyright © 2011 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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