A study measuring people's emotions by tracking their facial expressions has revealed that Mr Clean and Skittles produced the most engaging ads during Super Bowl 51.

Mr Clean’s Cleaner of your Dreams and Skittles’ Romance both scored 98.0% on the emotionally compelling scale (engagement if you like) which is a combined measure of how well the ad grabbed viewers’ attention, kept it and left a lasting impression. The study was conducted by emotion measurement tech company Realeyes who tested 84 ads on 3,300 people by measuring their facial expressions via their webcams as they watched the ads. The panellists were provided by human answers platform, Lucid.

The research said the ads did will as both had universal appeal across genders and age, however, the final twist in Mr Clean’s offering was a particular hit with women.

The study showed that humor was the big theme in winning people over. “Much of the talk among the advertising community beforehand was around tackling social issues such as equality and diversity,” said Mihkel Jäätma, Realeyes’ CEO. “However, the reality is that people just want to be entertained when it comes to Super Bowl commercials and the brands that did this connected most with viewers.”

For example, Budweiser’s Born the Hard Way which focused on the company’s immigrant founders and generated huge social media buzz, scored only 36.3% and ranked 6th worst among the 84 ads. Airbnb’s We Accept and Coca-Cola’s America is Beautiful which also centered on social issues ranked 3rd and 2nd worst, respectively.

According to the study, the appearance of Wonderful Pistachios in the Top 10 showed commercials don’t need to be long to engage viewers (it was 15 seconds) whilst King’s Hawaiian’s relatively low-budget piece reinforces that high-production values aren’t required to successfully engage people either.

Published on: 6:23PM on 9th February 2017