[Updated 1/30] If the teasers are any indication of the ads themselves, this year’s Super Bowl will be chock full of humor, nostalgic characters and purpose-driven messages.
Stripped down to its simplest form, Super Bowl teasers are really just ads for ads. These pre-game spots are a great way for brands to make the most of their $5.6M investment and extend their Super Bowl buzz to the weeks preceding game day. Given the right amount of suspense and mystique, a teaser can also generate interest for the official version with viewers curious to see how things play out during the game.
The unconventional purpose of teasers doesn’t always translate into success on traditional ad testing metrics and isn’t always an indicator of in-game performance. That said, most of the teasers for 2020’s game have done a great job at capturing Attention for the brands and their official Super Bowl ads.
Brace yourself for a long read with 28 teasers (& counting) covered further below, but just in case here’s the TL;DR recap:
Planters “Road Trip” and Cheetos “Where It All Began” lead the pack as the funniest and also the most Likeable. On top of that, Planters is also the most Attention-grabbing along with Genesis’ “Oysters” teaser starring Chrissy Teigen and John Legend (some of the most liked Characters among the pre-game spots so far).
Heinz piqued the most Curiosity hyping up its 4-ads-in-1, followed by Turkish Airlines “Time to Take Off Again,” which is one of several brands suggesting space-themed Super Bowl ads. WTF signal is common among teasers, as some viewers cannot connect the dots back to the Big Game. Heinz again takes the top spot as most WTF, followed by Facebook’s “Chris Rock’s Ready to Do Push Ups!”
Watch and read about the latest Super Bowl teasers and how they’re performing ahead of February 2nd’s game below. Our most recent additions include teasers from Genesis, Facebook and Turkish Airlines: (Check back for updates as more teasers are dropped)
Celebrity power couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend grace the screen in Genesis’ teasers, with Chrissy’s down-to-earth, relatable humor on full display. “Oysters” edged out “Ice” ever so slightly on Funny as well as Attention thanks to the collapsing table of oysters and Chrissy’s gut reaction to throw John under the bus. However, both teasers sit comfortably among the funniest, most Attention-grabbing teasers so far. Chrissy’s comedic deliveries in both registered much stronger Funny signal among female audiences, but overall they resonated best with males ages 21-49
Both Chrissy and John stand out as the top Single Best Thing about each ad among gen pop audiences, and in “Ice” they are actually some of the highest rated Characters among all of the teasers. Solely among females, that approval jumps to 1-in-2 viewers.
Facebook is making its Super Bowl debut by employing a pair of celebrities, Chris Rock and Sylvestor Stallone. Despite the fact that Stallone spilled the beans about the spot preemptively, the brand chose to feature only Rock in its two teasers. Subtly, the brand references Sly’s most famous role (and maybe the full version will too?), where someone off camera offers Chris Rock some eggs. With little else to go on besides Chris Rock and the Facebook logo, both spots left viewers with a strong sense of WTF, with “Pushups” showing strong intensity for that emotion. Pairing with WTF (like we’ve seen with many teasers) is some signal for Curiosity, with “Takeoff” winning out on that Emo. “Takeoff” showed some peeks of humor for viewers, and with Rock involved, we expect the game day spot to have a lot more laughs.
Turkish Airlines gives us our third space-related themed ad, following suit after Olay and SodaStream. In a sea of Super Bowl teasers where celebrities stand out, it was the Visual Scenes that stole the show for viewers in “Time to Take Off Again.” The number one emotion evoked upon watching was Curiosity, with viewers left wanting to know more. They’ll just have to wait for the official Super Bowl spot!
In two teasers for Amazon’s Super Bowl LIV spot, Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi contemplated how humanity managed before Alexa. With home assistant penetration high, Relevance scores for both ads were well above technology category norms, by 9.3% and 10.6% respectively. “Spilled Wine” beat out “Temperature” when it came to Likeability but “Temperature” won when it came to our Funny metric. “Temperature” does have one of the higher But scores among the teasers seemingly due to the bickering aspect of the spot. Overall it seems that Amazon’s #BeforeAlexa should have broad, positive reception in the Big Game.
Squarespace is back with another celebrity focused ad for 2020 featuring Winona Ryder heading to her namesake in Minnesota. The longest teaser so far (outside of Porsche’s short film), the ad packed the second highest amount of Information among the teaser’s, second only to Verizon’s 5G first responders spot. Respondents seemed to connect to the real feel of the spoke and found the local townspeople very genuine. If Squarespace can make a bit more of a connection between its product and the spot, they’ll have an ad that has strong potential for success on gameday.
Jason Mamoa teases that we’ve seen him as a superhero, warrior and an outlaw, but nothing like his role in Quicken Loan’s Super Bowl ad. By the looks of it, he’s going to shed those somber roles for something more light hearted and funny. Jason’s Attention-grabbing presence reigns as the Single Best Thing about the preview with males ages 21-49 welcoming him with the warmest reception.
Planters is returning to the Super Bowl stage for its second consecutive year. The brand is literally starting things off with a bang. That is, an explosion that seals Mr. Peanuts perished fate.
Despite the morbid ending, there were several comical notes that lightened the mood and made “Road Trip” the funniest teaser we’ve tested so far, edging out Cheetos by a small margin. The humor, which ultimately stemmed from the Characters, and the captivating visuals also made “Road Trip” the top scoring teaser on Attention as well as Likeability (as of January 23rd).
With some signal on Curious, mainly among those ages 16-35, the teaser’s cliff hanger has viewers on the edge of their seats ready to see what unfolds. If Planters killed off its iconic mascot of 104 years in its teaser, we can’t imagine where they’ll take things in the official Super Bowl spot, but we’re ready to find out too!
Cheetos rewrites music history in its teaser, suggesting the brand’s iconic Cheetle (formerly known as Cheetos Dust) influenced MC Hammer’s 1990 hit “U Can’t Touch This.” Cheetos made great use of “Where It All Began,” strong scores on our quantitative measures, especially Attention and Likeability, indicate it could work well as a stand-alone ad.
“Where it All Began” fulfilled its teaser duties creating a sense of Curiosity, or desire, among viewers to find out what comes next on February 2nd. In fact, it’s one of the highest scoring teasers on this Ace EMO metric so far.
Even more so, the relatable punch line anchored in cultural and brand elements achieved Solid signal on Funny. The humor level in this teaser is already on par with some of the funniest ads from last year’s Super Bowl. Can the official ad get any funnier? Stay tuned for our post-game ad wrap-up.
After a three year hiatus, Snickers is back as a Super Bowl advertiser in 2020. Mars is giving the brand a solo opportunity in the Big Game by keeping fan favorite M&M’s on the sideline. This year marks ten years since Snickers debuted their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign and we could wax nostalgic about that original Betty White spot all day. The brand is teasing something big in both “Speakerphone” & “Living at Home” along with their hashtag #SnickersFixTheWorld. “Speakerphone” is the clear winner between the two spots, outscoring “Living at Home” on Funny, Attention and Likeability as well as eliciting fewer negative emotions. “Speakerphone” trails Cheetos and Planters in terms of Humor in the teasers we’ve scored so far.
Both spots hit on a fair share of “WTF” which is an Emo nearly all the teasers have fired on (30% of Super Bowl spots fire on this Emo, while only 13% of the rest of the database) . In Snickers’s case, this type of reaction comes from not knowing what will happen next and also how Snickers can possibly fix the world. We’re looking forward to finding out!
Continuing with last year’s first responders theme, Verizon is also working in promotions of its 5G coverage for what’s shaping up to be an enlightening, purpose-driven campaign. “5G Built Right: Smoke” is just one of several spots the brand is airing ahead of its official game day version.
This teaser scored above norm on Attention and Likeability, but really came through on our Information and Change quantitative scores as the firefighter simulation was illuminating for viewers. The emphasis on 5G also paid off with 20% of respondents tacking it onto “Verizon” in our Brand Recognition question.
We’ll be watching to see how Verizon’s game day spot performs on our Cultural Perception scores. While they’ve been successful at our Empower metric with their first responder spots in the past, our scores will let us know if they wander into Exploit territory which can happen with use of service members.
Olay’s female empowerment teaser has a lot going for it — five female icons, a nod to the first all-woman space walk, and a Twitter campaign in support of Girls Who Code philanthropy. Overall, the star-studded cast captured Attention at levels 8% above personal care industry norms.
Despite the emphasis on females, the ad scored best among males ages 36-49, who found “Space Walk Teaser” extremely Likeable. Overall, the female audience responded to the teaser in a polarizing manner with 46% scoring it favorably versus 25% negative. Based on viewer verbatim comments, the source of conflict stemmed from the humor, which some felt canceled out the empowering message:
“It was somewhat annoying, especially since it implied that women going to space would not be prepared -“Do you have the keys?” – “No”” Female 21-35
“Don’t like it. It presents women as dumb or not qualified to go in space.” Female 16-20
Meanwhile, the Characters and Message were crowd pleasers for females that scored the teaser favorably:
“I love how it was women in space suits, and I also love how Taraji was in the scene it reminded of the movie Hidden Figures. There was diversity in culture and in hair, and also women empowerment.” Female 16-20
Like its Frito-Lay sister brand, Doritos combines humor, nostalgia and music in its teaser. The duality of old and new plays out between legendary western actor Sam Elliott and the 2019 chart-topping song, “Old Town Road.” Those that picked up on the lyrics in Elliott’s monologue appreciated the humor behind the juxtaposition.
Many viewers couldn’t connect the date in the ad (“02.02.20”) to the Super Bowl, which ultimately resulted in WTF reactions coming through strongest out of all our emotional metrics. That said, it’s not the only teaser to emphasize the date like it’s a movie premier.
Their second teaser featuring Lil Nas X dimmed some of the WTF signal from the first, while also building a lot more hype with Curiosity firing as the most forward emotion for “Bassquake.” The visuals along with the musical suspense made this one the more Attention-grabbing of the two teasers, while Likeability scores were the exact same. Males ages 16-20 are huge fans of the “Bassquake” teaser on its own as they scored it 18% above candy and snack industry norms (for their demographic). Whatever Doritos has in the works, viewers are ready to see it!
No stranger to the Super Bowl, Budweiser knows how to brew up suspense in its teaser. In a classic case of FOMO, viewers see those featured in the official spot getting a sneak peak viewing. It’s now the highest scoring teaser on Curiosity, leaving a much stronger impression on this metric than the next spot, Cheetos “Where It All Began.”
Budweiser is the only one that actually mentions the “Super Bowl” and includes the official release date, which ultimately helped mitigate confusion. As such, it’s one of the lower scoring pre-game teasers on our WTF metric.
The suspense was short lived as the “official” version was released January 23rd. We’re testing the ad, but unlike Budweiser, we’re waiting until game day to release results. Stay tuned!
Among a growing set of teasers that lean heavily Funny, Kia went serious with theirs. Their Big Game ad will spotlight childhood homelessness and has a wonderful charitable side to it that sounds like it will be quite powerful. The teaser left a lot to be desired for many viewers with little details about the brand or the charitable connection (as seen by the strong WTF signal). Respondents did connect with the boy, presumably a football player, naming the Characters the Single Best Thing about the ad by a large margin. We’ll be watching to see which of our Heartfelt or Inspiring Emos fire for Kia on Super Bowl Sunday.
SodaStream is returning after a six year hiatus and with Super Bowl veteran Bill Nye the Science Guy by its side. The duo hint at some earth-shattering, space related news in the teaser. “Something Big is Bubbling” resonated best with viewers ages 21-35, 46% of whom noted Bill Nye’s presence as the Single Best Thing about the ad.
Overall, SodaStream’s teaser left viewers with a lot of loose ends which generated WTF reactions and/or a sense of Curiosity. Again, the former is a common response among teasers, while the latter is a sign the brand is garnering pre-game interest. However, something big better be bubbling because some other viewers felt those same loose ends were a Waste Of time.
Little Caesars is making its Super Bowl debut on 2/2/20 and they’ve jumped into the teaser game (x2!) with Rainn Wilson. Both spots had their strongest emotional connection on the Surreal measure, which fires when brands bring out the weird for their spots. Respondents connected with Wilson, who seems to play a derivative of his The Office character Dwight, naming him the Single Best Thing about both ads, with product coming in a close second.
“Mutiny” is the winner of the two when it comes to Likeability, beating its sister ad on the measure by nearly 100 points. “Mutiny” was also the only one of the two to fire on Yummy, a key component of QSR success. It will be interesting to see what the brand delivers come Super Bowl Sunday (wink).
Heniz piqued viewers’ Curiosity in a big way with “Find the Goodness Trailer” scoring in Rare territory for our Curiosity measure making it tops for this metric by far among the twenty teasers we’ve scored so far. Pairing with Curiosity was strong signal for WTF, a common theme we’re seeing in all the ads. When you make an ad promoting an ad (or four ads at once in Heinz’s case), there’s bound to be some confusion. Looks like us and a lot of the country will be interested in seeing what Heinz is bringing on gameday.
Thanks to Molly Ringwald, Avocados from Mexico is serving up major 80s nostalgia in its Big Game spot. However, the avocado hogged the spotlight in the 15-second teaser “Tiara” and in the final tally came out on top as the Single Best Thing about the ad. The emphasis on the product leading up to the game could pay off as a purchase reminder for one of the biggest avocado consumption events of the year.
Poptart, a first time Super Bowl advertiser, has Jonathan Van Ness leading the fight against “dry, dull, crusty” snack options. Females ages 21-35, resonated best with the teaser and Jonathan’s Character, 33% of whom named him the Single Best Thing about the ad. His influential presence is summarized in the following comment: “I love JVN! He is very funny and I usually trust his opinions. I think the ad was fun and drew my attention.”
Hyundai gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look in its teaser. The Characters, Rachel Dratch and David Ortiz, seem to be a good choice with 47% of viewers naming them the Single Best Thing about the ad. The Bostonian theme adds some lighthearted laughs as well.
Like the Doritos spot, the subtle link to the Super Bowl and brand resulted in WTF reactions. But we anticipate the official ad will resolve any and all confusion viewers expressed after watching the teaser.
Sabra plans to have a little something for everyone in their Super Bowl spot- TPain, Real Housewives and drag queens. Hopefully they plan to have better branding for their spot in the big game. With a concentration on the Characters (Single Best Thing for both spots) in the teasers, they did not get very strong Brand Recognition across with only 38% and 39% correctly identifying the brand. Viewers mentioned that the product itself was very small in the ads and wasn’t easily to id with all the red in the background. “Helmet Hair” did manage to show some signal for Funny which hopefully bodes well for the spot on game day.
Continuing our yearly tradition since 2010, we’re testing every Super Bowl LIV ad. Follow us on Twitter for live ad performance updates during February 2nd’s game and keep an eye out for our post-game coverage of hits and misses.