NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Groundbreaking marketing consultancy SOOTH held its inaugural “soothrbowl 2023,” a first-of-its-kind live-streaming analysis of the big ads during The Big Game … and the results are in.

Marketing expert and sooth founder, Ian Baer, served as host and was joined by fellow referees, media specialist Meghan Peters, and comedy writer David Brody, with Brody weighing as the marketing industry outsider. 

The trio evaluated ads across five key brand areas: BATTLE OF THE LIGHT BEERS (Michelob Ultra vs. Bud Light vs. Coors Light vs. Miller Lite vs. Busch Light vs. Heineken 0.0), COLORFUL CANDY CONTROVERSY (M&M’s culture wars response), BOOZE-A-PALOOZA (Remy Martin vs. Crown Royal), WHO’S THE BETTER BET? (FanDuel vs. DraftKings) and SALTY AF (Doritos vs. Pringles vs. PopCorners vs. Planters).

While the expert referees certainly reacted to the content of the ads, their analysis was derived from sooth’s patent-pending data/AI methodology to score each ad using the soothscale, a periodic table of Emotional Elements that are proven to drive 70% of consumer decisions. 

Each ref answered the ultimate question: Did the ads connect with their intended audiences meaningfully? Analyzing each ad against its top three Emotional Elements—previously identified via the sooth method—the refs gave each ad a score from zero to 30. Here’s where they netted out on the key brands:

Emotional Elements: Fun, Community, Self-Image
In the BATTLE OF THE LIGHT BEERS – focusing on the soothscale emotional elements of Self-Image, Fun and CommunityThe Bud Light ad featuring Miles Teller and his wife dancing to all too familiar hold music scored big – averaging a 26 out of a possible 30. The panel praised its relatable humanity and its defiance against the usual beer commercial tropes of frat parties, backyard barbeques, and bar crawls.

The panel was less impressed with Molson-Coors’ three-way beer ad featuring a battle between Miller Lite and Coors Light – with a surprise Blue Moon plug. The spot netted a 19 average score but the panel felt it ultimately missed the mark with consumers, and observed that the conglomerate’s decision to include three brands in the same ad could well backfire when consumers suddenly realize they are all made by the same company. And if anything, Blue Moon came out on top – perhaps simply by being exposed for only two seconds of the messy spot.

The refs enjoyed the Busch Light ad with Sarah MacLachlan poking fun at her heart-tugging animal ads (average score 20), and they all agreed that Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man can do no wrong (but said the ad could have scored even higher than its 22 rating if the advertiser had more fun with the actor and character) and that while Michelob Ultra’s star-studded Caddyshack parody did well leaning into the male trash talking nostalgia – it ultimately didn’t lead to a bigger conversation as Baer noted: “If you stand in the middle of the road, you’re going to get hit by a truck.”

Emotional Elements: Confidence, Expression, Self-Image

Serena Williams fared far better in the Booze-a-Palooza category (soothscale elements of Self-Image, Confidence and Expression) with Remy-Martin’s first big ad campaign. The panel scored the cognac spot highly (24) but lost a bit by making the product more of a cameo to Serena’s rousing pep talk. On the other side, Crown Royal’s ad featuring Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was less impactful – while they all agreed they like Grohl, the focus on Canadian trivia (other things that came from Canada) did little to attract them to the product (Score: 17)

Emotional Elements: Wellness, Fun, Freedom

The panel was unanimous in their dislike regarding M&M’s response to their unexpected presence in the media culture wars over their spokescandies. The brand’s response by appointing Maya Rudolph as their spokesperson and revealing a radical flavor shift (clams) for the beloved candy scored a dismal 5 out of 30 (scored against the soothscale elements of Freedom, Fun and Wellness – the latter including not just physical but also mental elements) and was dubbed a “trainwreck,” by Brody, who noted “How do you make Maya Rudolph not fun?!” The one saving grace was Peters’ observation that this ad may be the beginning of something larger: a “careful what you wish for” response to the brand’s spokescandies’ ‘cancellation’ that could create empathy for the longtime characters – which may well have been the brand’s strategy given the way the brand’s communications played out during and after the game. But ultimately, the panel agreed that even a “troll the trolls” strategy probably did not resonate with consumers in a way that was positive for the brand.

Emotional Elements: Confidence, Fun, Freedom

On the sports betting front (soothscale elements Fun, Freedom and Confidence), the panel was underwhelmed by Fan Duel’s live Rob Gronkowski $10 million dollar field goal kick stunt (score: 16) – and wondered if his missing the kick could undermine one of the key elements identified for online betting platforms: Confidence. However, they also observed that the stunt likely had an impact in getting users to download the app (as it was the only way to participate). DraftKings kept things the same with their Kevin Hart-driven multi-celebrity campaign, scoring a solid 20.

Emotional Elements: Wellness, Fun, Freedom

Finally, in the snack food throwdown, there was no question about the winner. PopCorners and their Breaking Bad reunion spot was “the one who knocks.” It scored an impressive 27 and nailed the category’s soothscale elements of Freedom, Fun and Wellness. It even resonated with Brody, who said he had never seen the acclaimed show. Pringles seemed to misfire with their can-focused ad (scoring 16), Planter’s “Roast” of Mr. Peanut fared better with 20, with the panel praising the relevant jokes and the brand’s comeback from killing their popular character, noting that M&M’s may need to take a hint from them. Finally, the panel was less enthused about Doritos’ Triangle spot, noting that it didn’t pay off ultimately and made Elton John the “Blue Moon Beer” of the spot. (Score: 15)

The interactive live stream, which appeared across multiple platforms, also featured an ad bingo card/drinking game to flag common ad tropes during the game as well as comments from viewers. soothrbowl 2023 wrapped up by citing the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of all the ads, and the panel was all over the map on this one.

When it came to choosing their overall picks for “Good, Bad and Ugly,” Baer praised T-Mobile’s John Travolta ad with a perfect score of 30 for hitting the critical emotions of Confidence, Security and Community — but labeled the Adam Driver SquareSpace ad as his choice for “Bad” and agreed with the rest of the panel on the M&M spot being “the Ugly.” Meghan gave more love to PopCorners as her favorite and wanted more risk-taking in the ads overall, while Brody gave love to Anna Faris’ Avocados from Mexico ad and called foul on Hellman’s odd celebrity packed mayo ad with Jon Hamm, Brie Larson and Pete Davidson.

Visit sooth’s website for more information on the sooth method, its identified Emotional Elements, the soothscale, and more.

ABOUT sooth
is a groundbreaking marketing consultancy with a patent-pending methodology using deep data, AI, and human intellect to provide brands/marketers a “life-centric” approach using its precise emotional blueprint to determine how every individual, community and population makes decisions. Because… as founder and chief soothsayer Ian Baer simply notes: “Marketing should help more and hurt less.


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