This past Sunday, T-Mobile’s Super Bowl ads reminded marketers that brands don’t need celebrity or spectacle to garner a strong audience reaction. The mobile company aired four commercials during the game and two of their ads ranked in the top ten of Ipsos’ real-time, nonconscious rankings.
T-Mobile strayed from the methods of Pepsi, Olay or Stella Artois, and merely presented something we see every day: a phone screen where a text conversation was underway. On Ipsos’ rankings, T-Mobile’s “We’re Here For You” ad ranked number four and their “We’ll Keep This Brief” spot came in at number eight.
Mostly, the ads work because they’re relatable. Consumers identify with the awkwardness and miscommunication that comes with texting.
Two of the spots not only promoted T-Mobile but free offers for their customers. During the “What’s for Dinner” spot, the ad announced a collaboration with Taco Bell for free tacos every Tuesday and the “We’re Here For You” spot partnered with Lyft to promote free rides (both via the T-Mobile Tuesdays app).
However, not everyone reacted to the ads positively. Some viewers accused T-Mobile of stealing a meme from 2017 for the Lyft spot. But, unlike some meme-makers, but it turns out T-Mobile licensed the joke.
This is the second year Ipsos tested the ads in a real setting—the market research company recruited 37 people to watch the ads during the game at a Super Bowl party. Participants also brought friends to the viewing.
As for the “nonconscious” part of “Ipsos real-time, nonconscious ranking,” it refers to biometric data.
According to the press release, “each viewer was fitted with Shimmer’s NeuroLynQ system—a wrist bracelet and finger sensor to passively capture galvanic skin response (GSR).”
The data was used to find out which ads had the “strongest emotional impact on the audience during the event itself—not when tested in isolation.”
Overall, though, the ads were less engaging than 2018’s ads. “Not surprisingly, given the historic lack of touchdowns for most of the game, the overall score for the game was noticeably lower than the Patriots vs. Eagles contest of 2018.” said Pedr Howard, Ipsos’senior vice president for creative excellence in a statement.
“The $5.25 million question is whether the game itself impacts the engagement with the ads or whether we saw a dip in creative quality.”