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Cute Wins Hearts, Not Clicks – Super Bowl Ads Drove Only 9.3% of Millennials to Action

Apparent hybrids of puppies and monkeys.
Millennials watching the 50th Super Bowl liked cute more than any other type of ad, whether it was dramatic, sad or sci-fi.
But what’s cute doesn’t necessarily click. Though millennial respondents to an IZEA-conducted digital survey most liked Super Bowl commercials that featured cute, only 9.3 percent followed through with clicks.
The 502 respondents to the survey, conducted on February 8 and 9, reported that they most liked the Doritos “Ultrasound” commercial, which showed a cheeky unborn baby grabbing for its father’s Doritos, communicating via ultrasound screen. The kicker: annoyed Mom tosses a chip across the room and the baby bursts into the world after it. (The ad was created by David Rudy.)
Another favorite with the IZEA respondents was the oddball “Puppy Monkey Baby” spot aired by Mountain Dew. In an attempt to draw a parallel between three features of its soft drink, Mountain Dew cobbled together a character comprised of a baby’s lower torso and legs, a puppy’s head, and a monkey for everything in between. The resulting creature was less than the sum of its parts.
Cute is a proven attention-getter: research finds that people really do have heartstrings for content marketers to tug. Babies and baby animals grab our attention and evoke a reflex to respond. The cute factor can even overcome inertia, and there’s a study to prove it. A professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. planted 240 “lost” wallets on the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland and watched to see how passersby would respond (none of the wallets contained cash). About 88% of the wallets seeded with photos of smiling babies were returned to their ‘owners,’ with puppies coming in second, scoring a return rate of 53 percent.
But Super Bowl ads don’t guarantee that “aww” will result in action, as evidenced by the less than 10 percent of survey respondents following a new brand after seeing its Super Bowl commercial. Of those that did, Doritos was the big winner, with 50 percent of clicking respondents ‘liking’ the chip brand. But additional actions to follow were evenly spread among a wide spectrum of game advertisers, including many whose ads didn’t pivot on cute.
The IZEA survey was conducted online from February 8 to 9. Of the 502 people nationwide who responded to the survey, 54 percent were male and 70 percent were age 18 to 29.

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