Ads of Super Bowl LVI Don’t Live Up to the Hype

On January 22, 1984, at the break between the third and fourth quarters of Super Bowl 18, history was made. That was when Apple Computer aired its 60-second, Ridley Scott-directed “1984” commercial to unveil its new Macintosh line of personal home computers.

In the years since “1984” got its first and only national broadcast during the big game, Super Bowl ads have for many fans become as much a part of the Super Sunday experience as the game played on the field. And for advertisers, a Super Bowl commercial offers a unique opportunity to reach a huge audience with ads that, they hope, will live on in consumers’ minds and on social media.

Those clever, top-quality Super Bowl commercials are a significant investment for companies, however, and advertisers are never sure of exactly how well their pricey commercial will be received.  Unanimous AI’s Swarm AI® technology can remove some of that uncertainty.  Our Swarm AI technology allows for the rapid assembly of unified collective intelligences formed by demographically diverse groups, which provide brands with immediate, high-impact feedback and insights on everything from logos to messages to talent recognition and sentiment.

A panel of Super Bowl fans from across the United States logged on to the Swarm platform and evaluated eight 30-second commercials that aired during this weekend’s big game.  The swarm viewed commercials from a variety of advertisers, rating the ads on criteria inspired by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management ADPLAN rating system. The group worked together to express their collective insights on how well the ads captured attention, how positively the spots positioned brands and products, how they amplified positive impressions of the companies, and how likely each ad was to carry “buzz” into post-Super Bowl conversations and social media.


Using the AI-optimized sentiments generated from each Swarm response, Ad Effectiveness Profiles were generated for each of the ads tested, across each of the attributes that were assessed (Attention, Positioning, Buzz, Impression).

The Aggregated Ad Profiles present the scaled Conviction Index values generated for each ad, across all four attributes, providing a quick visual representation of each ad in the attribute-space:



The Segmented Attribute Profiles present the same data by ad attribute, showing how the ads compare by AI-optimized sentiment.

The Summary Scorecard shows all ads and all attributes in one at-a-glance view.


As can be seen in the charts, the panel of consumers was fairly critical of these eight commercials, awarding higher grades to only two of these ads.

Planet Fitness scored the highest overall of the eight ads the panel evaluated. The swarm enjoyed seeing a healthy Lindsay Lohan poking fun at her public image throughout the spot and cameos from Dennis Rodman and Danny Trejo (along with William Shatner’s narration) were appreciated by the group who found the ad to be the most attention-getting and memorable of the group.

The Pringles commercial “Stuck” (featuring an apt Lionel Ritchie soundtrack) was also well-liked. A few participants said that the premise of getting one’s hand stuck in the Pringles can was very relatable and funny; though some noted that it was a bit bizarre to see a body in a casket at the end of the commercial.

One commercial that seemed primed to catch attention was Squarespace’s :30 ad featuring Zendaya and Andre 3000 in a spot directed by Baby Driver/Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. Our panel had a mixed response to the ad, however. A few panelists didn’t recognize the A-list cast and overall our swarm found this much-hyped ad didn’t make nearly the impression that the pre-game buzz suggested it would.

Of the ads the swarm particularly disliked, none created quite the polarizing reaction with our swarm so much as the Uber Eats commercial. Many participants found it odd and off-putting, with only a few noticing the Gwyneth Paltrow joke hidden in the commercial and rating it more highly as a result. Interestingly, this ad spot created strong reactions both ways, giving it the fourth-high score on “Buzz” of all rated ads despite its low placement.

Modeled after swarms in nature, Swarm is a collaborative intelligence platform for generating AI-optimized insights from networked human groups. The power of Swarm is that the underlying algorithms don’t rely on how participants report their sentiments (as reporting can be unreliable and inconsistent), but instead processes how each of the participants behave when converging in real-time as part of an intelligent system.

Interested in leveraging Swarm for your business team or customer research? Read more about the Swarm platform here or request a demo.