Were movies the Super Bowl ad winners?

February, 4, 2013
2/04/13
2:20
PM ET
The talk on the morning after the Super Bowl is as much about the commercials as about the game.

That ad chatter tends to be based on what spots people enjoyed most. What is often forgotten is the effectiveness of ads. In other words, what ads will result in the most incremental business?

The shocking result, according to one company's survey? Movies.

[+] EnlargeLone Ranger
Courtesy of Disney19 percent of responders said they're more likely to see "Lone Ranger" after the movie's Super Bowl ad.
The top four Super Bowl commercials viewers said most influenced them to buy were all movies.

Zimmerman Advertising, a Florida-based marketing and advertising agency, surveyed 1,000 people before the Super Bowl, asking them opinions about the game's advertisers and if they would buy the brand. After the game, the firm surveyed another large group of people to find out what they thought of buying a particular product or service

The winner of the Z Super Poll?

"Lone Ranger," which saw a 19 percent rise in purchase intent, followed by "Fast And Furious 6" (+15%), "Oz" (+15%) and "Iron Man 3" (+12%). "Lone Ranger," "Oz" and "Iron Man 3" are films by Disney, a parent company of ESPN.

"We found that a lot of ads were being geared toward the heads of households, or just men or women, but the ones that really scored were the ones that were talking to family," said Cliff Courtney, Zimmerman's chief strategy officer. "Those ads that centered around family we discussed more and had more momentum."

Meanwhile, Courtney said ads targeted toward men -- the ads that often get the laughs -- bombed as far as real impact is concerned.

"The spots that people thought were funny were some of the worst-scoring ads," Courtney said. "The Super Bowl isn't about sophomoric dude humor or fart jokes anymore."

The "whispering" Oreo ad drove down purchase intent by 10 percent, the survey showed, while GoDaddy's "The Kiss" knocked purchase intent down by almost 12 percent. Taco Bell's spot, which featured retirement home residents escaping the grounds to eat, made people laugh, but the Z Super Poll reflects that purchase decision actually went down 4 percent.

"People like to see themselves in ads," Courtney said. "It was clearly entertaining, but in Taco Bell's case it would have probably been better to launch a real retail story."

Coming in fifth in increase in purchase intent after the four movies was… milk!

Yep, you can read that again.

"The spot with [Dwayne] ‘The Rock’ [Johnson] was very G-rated and wasn't for a specific brand, so it had no competing loyalties," Courtney said.

None of the top five that the Zimmerman survey revealed as having driven potential business was in the 20 most-liked ads in USA Today's Ad Meter.

Executives at GoDaddy dispute the notion that their two ads didn't work.

The company said that this Super Bowl was its most successful compared to the previous eight years.

“Attracting new customers is what advertising is all about,” said GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving in a statement. “We wanted our Super Bowl commercials to generate new customers and overall sales, and that’s precisely what happened."

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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