Bell Media and Brainsights Reveal Most-Engaged Advertisements from CTV’s SUPER BOWL 50 Broadcast

— February 17, 2016

– Bell Media partners with Brainsights to measure TV viewers’ brain activity during SUPER BOWL 50 –
– Top Canadian Super Bowl ads deliver mind-blowing results –
– Touchdown, Missed Field Goal, Halftime Show, and Peyton’s Budweiser Plug highlight top Super Bowl moments –

TORONTO (February 17, 2016) – A new study by Brainsights and Bell Media using brain activity to measure viewer response reveals that 14 of the Top 20 most-engaging ads in CTV’s broadcast of SUPER BOWL 50 on Feb. 7 came from advertisers exclusive to the Canadian broadcast, while another four had a unique ad targeted to Canadians. Commissioned by Bell Media as part of a study on viewer engagement, Brainsights, a Toronto-based research company, measured the brain activity of 54 adult Canadians as they watched the big game using portable brain wave readers, or electroencephalograms. They then mined the resulting data to determine which advertisements drove the greatest response in the brains of the audience. The top ads in the study delivered higher than average overall subconscious activation of Attention, Emotional Connection, and Encoding to Memory (ACE) scores, compared to the game itself. The Top 5 spots were taken by Canadian-owned brand Royale (#1; “Tiger Towel Food Truck”), along with Honda (#2; “Civic Nation Membership”), Mazda (#3; “The Proposal”), Beyoncé (#4; “The Formation Tour”), and Ford (#5; “Undisputed”). The ACE score for the Royale ad was 37% higher than the advertising average. “The study demonstrates that the most viral, flashy, or celebrity-focused ads aren’t necessarily the most persuasive or effective,” said Kevin Keane, Founder and CEO, Brainsights. “Placement impact was probably important, as was the fact that this was the first spot to run after the first quarter ended.” Three of the Top 5 ads were from the automotive category. “Beyond targeting the male-skewed audience, these advertisers understand context holistically – taking into consideration occasion context, social context, seasonal context, and media context – as it relates to the Super Bowl; that all fuels breakthrough,” said Keane. In total, 18 of the Top 20 ads in CTV’s SUPER BOWL 50 broadcast were commercials crafted for Canadian viewers. The only U.S. Super Bowl ads to rank among the Top 20 in Canada were Beyoncé’s Formation Tour (#4), capitalizing on her halftime show performance, and the Doritos “Dogs” commercial (#16). “This study confirmed that ads specifically created for the Canadian audience are a meaningful part of the of the Super Bowl experience for Canadian viewers,” said Jeff Hersh, Vice-President, Strategy, Revenue Management, and Research, Bell Media. “Bell Media intends to conduct additional neuroscientific research to deliver new opportunities and advertising solutions related to our content.” Brainsights also measured which elements of the Super Bowl broadcast itself were the most engaging for viewers. “Such is the spectacle of the Super Bowl that fully half of these mind-blowing moments happened on the sidelines, so to speak,” said Keane. “The most surprising for me was Bruno Mars delivering a more-engaging performance than Beyoncé, which isn’t at all what we’ve been hearing in the press.” Here are the Top 10 Mind-Blowing Moments of SUPER BOWL 50 in the order in which they happened:
  1. Steph Curry leading the Panthers onto the field
  2. Jonathan Stewart’s over-the-top touchdown – once viewers saw it on the replay
  3. Longest punt return in Super Bowl history – but only after Jordan Norwood catches the key block that releases him
  4. First few seconds of “Uptown Funk” when Bruno Mars teased the crowd
  5. Halftime Show throwback tribute – in particular, when Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, James Brown, and Michael Jackson were on screen
  6. Bruno Mars’ performance - driving 15% more engagement than Beyoncé’s performance
  7. Panthers’ field goal attempt that went off the uprights
  8. Panthers’ last-minute comeback attempt that started with the lateral
  9. Faces of the victors and – especially – the defeated in the post-game circus
  10. Peyton Manning’s post-game Budweiser plug
Preliminary overnight data from Numeris confirms that SUPER BOWL 50 was the second most-watched ever in Canada, with an average audience of 8.5 million viewers on CTV and RDS. Brainsight’s Methodology: A mind-blowing event is one in which the average brain activity for the event in question is significantly greater (~25% - 200%) than the baseline, as calculated by the mean for each participant consolidated across the 4-hour broadcast. Electroencephalograms measures brain wave activity every two milliseconds, evaluating various mental states and yielding an ACE score: A- focused levels of Attention and alertness (is the stimuli capturing attention, and to what degree?); C- Emotional Connection (is there a deeper relationship with the stimuli?); and E- Encoding to Memory (is the stimuli being committed to memory?).

About Brainsights

Brainsights is a research and data firm that advises advertisers and media companies on how to create the stickiest and most persuasive content for their audiences.

About Bell Media

With passion and an unrelenting commitment to excellence, Bell Media creates content and builds brands that entertain, inform, engage, and inspire audiences through the platforms of their choice. Bell Media is Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital media. Bell Media owns 30 local television stations led by CTV, Canada’s #1 television network; 34 specialty channels, including TSN and RDS, Canada’s most-watched specialty channels in English and French; and four pay TV services, including The Movie Network and Super Écran. Bell Media is also Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, with 106 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across Canada. Bell Media owns Astral Out of Home, one of Canada’s most dynamic and innovative out-of-home advertising companies with a network of more than 30,000 advertising faces in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia. Bell Media also operates more than 200 websites; delivers TV Everywhere with premium subscription on-demand streaming service CraveTV, as well as its innovative GO video streaming services including CTV GO, Discovery GO, TMN GO, and TSN GO; operates multi-channel network Much Digital Studios; holds an equity stake in digital startup Hubub; is partners in Cirque du Soleil Media, a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil; and owns Dome Productions Inc., a multi-platform production company. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. For more on Bell Media, please visit


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