Super Bowl: Michelob and Messi on target for this year’s most popular ad

American beer brand Michelob was the winner at last night’s Super Bowl, according to System1, with its sunny beach ad starring the world’s most famous footballer.

Footballer Lionel Messi, actor Jason Sudeikis and American football legend Dan Marino powered American beer brand Michelob to the most popular Super Bowl ad, according to System1 analysis.

System1’s Test Your Ad effectiveness platform measures the long- and short-term brand building potential of an ad on a scale of 1.0-5.9 stars by tracking consumers’ emotional response to it.

The Super Bowl, one of America’s premier sporting events, is known as much for its elaborate ads as it is for the action on the pitch. This year’s top performing ad came from the AB InBev-owned Michelob and its ad ‘Superior Beach’ which saw Inter Miami footballer Messi enjoy a beach kickabout while he waited for his beer to be poured. The sunny vibes earned the ad a star rating of 4.8 stars.

In second place was chocolate brand Reese’s ad ‘Yes!’ which took the unusual path of forgoing celebrities in favour of a short blast of slapstick comedy. It landed well with viewers and fell just short of the top spot with a rating of 4.7 stars.

The top three was rounded off by Hellmann’s ‘Mayo Cat’ which starred actors Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson and featured a talking cat that goes viral when it says ‘may-ow’. The fun premise was enough to earn the Unilever-owned condiment brand 4.5 stars.

Attention’s the problem, creativity’s the answer – as everThere was a slight drop in popularity for this year’s crop of ads with the average star rating of 2.7 stars falling short of the 2.9 stars achieved by 2023’s collection. However, it still tracks well above the average of 2.3 stars for all US ads.

Considering the expense of securing a Super Bowl ad slot it is perhaps no surprise that most brands played it fairly tried and tested. A total of 39 ads, or 56%, used a celebrity of some form and 19% of ads (13) featured recurring devices, like a brand mascot.

“These ads are a huge investment for a brand, and if you get it right they’re well worth it. It’s no surprise brands are trying to fit as much into their airtime as possible with loads of celebrities and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scenes,” said System1’s chief customer officer Jon Evans.

“But these results show that the winning brands on game night take a more focused approach. They execute simple ideas brilliantly, tell great stories, use celebrities and brand assets wisely and never forget to entertain.”