We've reviewed some of the Superbowl ads 2020. And here are three that apply behavioural science to make them more effective.

Even though viewership of the Superbowl has started to decline, in 2019 it still had 98.2 million viewers in the US and remains the best opportunity in to get your ad seen by a colossal number of people at the same time.

Additionally, online views bolster the reach of the ads massively, with the 28 ‘Superbowl ads’ last year clocking up 105 million views between them before the game even happened.

As a creative agency that uses behavioural science to create effective and engaging campaigns for clients, , we don’t just want to list all the Superbowl ads 2020 and tell you which is our favourite. There are a million places you can find that.

We’ve picked out three of the more ‘interesting’ ads and explained what behavioural science techniques they leverage, and which means we think they might just outperform the others.

Michelob Ultra – 6 for 6-Pack

Michelob tells us that less than 1% of the US’ farmland is organic, and that it’s hard for farmers who want to become organic to do so. To help, for every 6 pack of Michelob Ultra sold, they’ll help transition 6 square feet of farmland to Organic.

Commitment Bias – we’re more likely to buy from brands who publicly commit to causes we care about.

Status Quo Bias – we’re resistant to changing what we do and making an effort. Michelob are making it incredibly easy to help save the planet (well, the US anyway). Just but beer.

Improvements? – To really amplify the effect, they could consider using Reciprocation. If we feel someone has done something for us or given us something, we feel compelled to give something back. In this case, they ask us to take the first step (buy the beer) before they do their bit (help 6ft2 of land). If they told us they had already committed to helping the land, and all we had to do was buy beer to pay them back, this might increase people’s likelihood to act.

Budweiser – Typical American

Turning the perception of ‘Typical Americans’ on its head, Budweiser wants to make being seen as the default, almost stereotypical option as a virtue and not a problem. The ad actually combines two biases in a sophisticated way:

Framing – First, they re-frame what being a ‘Typical American’ means, making it a badge of honour (or honour!) for a tribe instead of a derogatory term.

Social Proof – Secondarily, they reinforce that they’re the beer for this group. Implicitly they’re telling people ‘If you’re one of these great people, this is the beer for you’.

Improvements? – The effect of Social Proof is magnified when the social group you reference is more specific. The TV ad is pretty flawless, but in other channels they could consider targeted executions based on geography (typical New Yorkers drink Bud), or targeting the groups shown in the ad (Typical farmers drink Bud)

Avocados From Mexico – Mexican Shopping Network

Several ads each year use (or try to use) humour to cut through the noise. It’s fair to say that ‘Avocados From Mexico’ tries pretty hard, using 80’s Star Molly Ringwald and a pretty bizarre ad. I won’t try to judge here whether it succeeds or not!

Von Restorff Effect – we are more likely to remember things that are distinct from their surroundings. In this case, we’re more likely to notice and remember an ad that stands out as being a little bizarre against all the emotion stirring ads from beer brands.

Improvements? – when ‘nudging’ someone towards a desired behaviour, it’s important that you are very clear about what you want them to do. In this case, they want you to prefer avocados from Mexico, and to do that, they could encourage you to take a specific action, such as ‘When you’re buying avocados, check for the AFM sticker’.

If you want to know more about how to leverage behavioural science to create more effective campaigns, get in touch.

By James Kay

Senior Account Director