Brand purpose, a focus on family life and the use of established marketing assets were just some of the main features of TV ads that delivered the greatest emotional impact in 2019, according to a study by research firm System1.

These insights emerged from the latest “FeelMore50”, an annual list of the most-effective spots compiled by System1, and that is based on applying its ad-testing system to TV commercials in the US and UK.

Its methodology tracks the emotional response of consumers to ads by showing each spot to a panel of web users, and yields both a prediction of long-term growth, which informs the “FeelMore50”, and a short-term “spike” score.

Karen Wolfe, System1’s chief commercial officer, suggested at an event in New York that the debate around brand purpose had witnessed “ebbs and flows” in recent years, but observed the “FeelMore50” contained numerous ads that employed this approach.

A case in point was Microsoft’s ad from the 2019 Super Bowl that promoted the adaptive controller for its Xbox console, a product that makes it easier for people with various disabilities to play games.

“There is a very strong story arc and a feeling of happiness when you watch the ad. It takes a serious subject, but it evokes such happiness and joy, and it ends in such a joyous way,” Wolfe said.

Another of the ad’s strengths, she continued, was the fact that “it builds on family connections” – a feature of several other top-performing commercials in the “FeelMore50”, too.

Werther’s Original, the candy brand, also successfully tapped into this emotional terrain with a spot that covered all the hallmarks of happy family life – from playful pets to smiling children.

Comcast, the media group, achieved a similar result with a nostalgic spot starring the character E.T. from the iconic 1980s film – and ran the same spot for two brands, in the form of Xfinity in the US and Sky in the UK.

A further characteristic displayed by many of the best ads was using “fluent devices”, which is System1’s name for long-standing brand assets such as mascots, logos and taglines.

Coca-Cola and Honey Nut Cheerios both posted strong star ratings for ads in this regard, and bucked a wider industry trend that has seen a decline in the usage of fluent devices over time.

The problem with that dismissal of established assets? “They work,” said Wolfe. “They’re super-effective. Immediately, people know what the ad is for, and then it allows them to get drawn in.”

Read more about System1’s findings in this WARC article: Five tips for making breakthrough TV ads from the most effective spots of 2019.

Sourced from WARC