When it comes to watching the Super Bowl, many consumers tune in for the jaw-dropping, tear-jerking, laugh-out-loud moments of – you guessed it – the commercial breaks. 

Each Super Bowl Sunday sets the stage for brand advertising trends of the year. The creative advertising approaches all stem from the objective of making viewers feel something – a technique that helps influence long-term memory and drive purchase intent. To get a better understanding of how brands use their $5+ million investments, Ace Metric looked at the emotional impact of past Super Bowl ads that earned the highest score (100*) for one of the following game-day ad emotions they measure: funny, inspiring, narrative (storytelling), WTF and eerie. 

Humor is relied on by many advertisers on Super Bowl Sunday. According to Ace Metric’s studies (since 2014), 25 percent of all ads and 60 percent of all Super Bowl ads fall into the humor category. Ads that get it right create strong post-game buzz. 

The funniest ads combine quirkiness and humor to make a lasting impression. Examples include Audi’s “Doberhuahua;” the star-studded, “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign from Snickers; and Doritos crowdsourced “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign. 

Even if your team doesn’t make it to the Super Bowl, you might feel a rush while watching players compete in a career-defining championship game. Capitalizing on the emotions behind game day can give brands a chance to tap into what viewers are already feeling. According to Ace Metric’s studies (since 2014), less than 9 percent of all ads and 23 percent of Super Bowl ads fall in the inspirational category. 

The subject of inspiring ads tends to span a wide range but the key is ensuring viewers connect the inspiration with the brand. One solid example is Microsoft’s 2014 spot “Empowering,” which demonstrated to viewers the positive impact technology has on our lives while weaving in...