[INTERACTIVE REPORT] Super Bowl 2021 Ads Review: What is the best ad in the Financial Services category?

Brands in the Financial Services category face a big challenge when it comes to creating engaging ads. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about financial services? Probably something along the lines of “distant”, “cold” or even “boring” (let’s face it, that’s probably the first word that comes to mind). So how did these brands manage to stand out among highly anticipated Super Bowl ads?

As we explained in our previous post, every year at Synapbox, we analyze the Super Bowl ads to find insights into the year’s top advertising trends. How? Our AI-powered content testing platform uses biometric technology to analyze viewers’ emotional responses in real-time as they engage with the content. We do this 100% remotely through any device with a front-facing camera, in an opt-in process that brings agility & data depth to market research.

But enough about us. Let’s take a look at each of the Financial Services Ads to see how well they performed. First, we asked participants what elements make Financial Super Bowl Ads special, with these results:

Storytelling: 55%
Sensations / Feelings generated: 54%
Relevant product information: 48%
The impact generated in me: 37%
The appearance of celebrities / Fantasy: 33%

Now let’s see if these ads were able to fulfill the viewer’s expectations:

1. State Farm Roster | Team State Farm Roster (Watch video)
State Farm had medium performance levels in general. With a Brand Recall metric of 87%, this ad didn’t succeed at connecting with the audience on an emotional level. This serves as a reminder that the presence of celebrities alone doesn’t automatically create an engaging ad. In this case, the low storytelling and emotional impact scores negatively affected its overall performance.

Most powerful metric:
Character relevance: 84 pts (High)

Less powerful metrics:
Attractiveness: 76 pts
Identification: 65% (Low)

Emotional impact:
Emotional Arousal Variation: 7% (Low)
Most impactful emotion: Confusion (Negative)

2. Klarna | Klarna Presents: The Four Quarter-Sized Cowboys. (watch video)
Here’s another example that confirms our previous statement: even the presence of the lovely Maya Rudolf isn’t enough to take participants out of their neutral emotional state. As emotions remain flat throughout the 30 seconds, this ad’s performance is deemed average.

Most powerful metric:
Music: 83 pts (High)

Less powerful metrics:
Emotional arousal: 40 pts (Low)
Brand Recall: 76% (Low)

Emotional impact:
Emotional arousal variation: 0% (Low)
Most impactful emotion:Angry (Negative)

3. Robinhood | We are all investors (Watch video)
“We are all investors” is an interesting example because Robinhood is not the first brand (and it won’t be the last) to use an ad to recover from a polemic. After the GameStop/Reddit controversy, this is an attempt to be on the good side of the public. Was it successful? On the bright side, there are scenes with high emotional impact and brand visibility, but the message was not clear for the viewers, as Confusion was the most impactful emotion.

Most powerful metric:
Brand Recall: 86% (High)

Less powerful metrics:
Message relevance: 70 pts (Low)
Identification: 51% (Low)

Emotional impact:
Emotional arousal variation:22% (High)
Most impactful emotion: Confusion (Negative)

4. Turbo Tax | Spreading Tax Expertise Across the Land (Watch video)
We have a winner! “Spreading Tax Expertise Across the Land” is the best-performing ad in the Financial Services category. It succeeds at grabbing the viewers’ attention throughout the story, and it communicates a clear message as they position themselves as experts in their industry. Even though it isn’t one of the best ads in the study, it stands out among the rest of the brands in its category.

Most powerful metric:
Message: 83 pts (High)

Less powerful metrics:
Brand Appeal: 49% (Low)
Attractiveness: 79 pts

Emotional impact:
Emotional Arousal Variation: 11% (High)
Most impactful emotion: Surprise (Positive)

As a category in the study, Financial Services did not do so well. It tested below average for US ads, and Biometric scores and message transmission could be improved. Still, there’s a lot we can learn from the best performing ad in the category (TurboTax), as it manages to entertain viewers with humor while communicating the most relevant information about their brand.

Want to learn more about our Super Bowl study and see our interactive report? Click here 🙂

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