How did Canadians react to this year’s Super Bowl ads?

Research shows that Budweiser's sustainability message ranked particularly high on likability.
Budweiser

Though ratings for the Super Bowl might be down once again, it continues to be a focal point for the advertising industry. But there’s a metric besides viewership to keep in mind: brand impact.

Market research platform Methodify did a quick poll of 200 Canadians following the game to get their opinions on ads from three brands that aired spots during Bell Media’s broadcast of the game. Specifically, it asked how much they actually enjoyed the ads and how relevant they thought the spots were to the brand.

Budweiser – which aired a commercial focused on its initiative to convert its brewing to renewable energy – only had 25% of respondents say the ad was relevant and 30% saying it fit with the brand. Despite this, 60% of those polled found the ad likeable and unique, suggesting that consumers are willing to accept a brand going in a different direction if it is delivering a message consumers relate to.

In that same poll, only 40% of Canadians found the Pepsi’s Super Bowl ad – a celebrity-heavy spot with hip-hop artists Cardi B and Lil’ Jon and actor Steve Carrell – as likeable, with 42% feeling it was relevant and 44% saying it fit with the brand. However, likability was higher among women, with 58% saying they liked the ad.

Pringles aired a tongue-in-cheek spot featuring an Alexa-style voice assistant that was sad at never being able to taste Pringles. The poll found that 52% of respondents liked the ad, with 42% saying it was relevant and 44% saying it fit with the brand.

But consumer sentiment isn’t the only way to measure the impact of an ad. According to data from online data and research company SEMrush, Canadian Google searches for Budweiser increased by 33% following the game.

Bud Light had a 24% increase in searches following the game, during which it aired two ads: one that was a cross-promotional effort with HBO’s Game of Thrones, and another that called out competing brands by pointing out how it wasn’t brewed with corn syrup (which resulted in some blow-back from interested parties). Meanwhile, Pepsi had a 13% increase in searches, followed by Stella Artois at 9% for a similarly celeb-driven spot featuring actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges reprising their most iconic roles. Hyundai rounded out the top five with an 8% uptick in searches post-game for its ad “The Elevator.”

Bud Light, Stella Artois and Hyundai’s search increase in Canada comes despite the fact that their ads did not air on CTV’s Super Bowl broadcast.

The spots could still be viewed by Canadians watching the game on U.S. network CBS, thanks to the third year of a CRTC exemption to simultaneous substitution rules that prevent Bell Media from replacing ads with Canadian ones on U.S. broadcasts of the Super Bowl. That exemption is set to be lifted once the USMCA trade deal, which includes a line abolishing the CRTC’s sim sub exemption, is ratified.