When asking people how much they liked the ads they saw, this is where it gets weird: The phantom ads scored higher than the real ones. Fifty percent of the real ads were "liked a lot" by people, but 58 percent of the phantom ads were "liked a lot," too.
So what is going on here? Dan Goldstein, chief strategy officer at DB5 Research, said, "There is a lot of misattribution out there," where people saw something elsewhere but thought it came from the Super Bowl. But, more importantly, the idea of being "liked" is what can carry you further than usual. "It's not that phantom ads are more likable, it's that likable ads are more likely to become phantom ads," said Goldstein.
The best ads get remembered for a long time, and they are so sticky that people will wrongly associate the time when it ran, and the brand who aired it.
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DB5's past research has shown that the companies with the best ability to get the audience to remember have consistently bought in the Super Bowl every single year. Think Budweiser. For the brewer, the investment pays off, rather than the brands that buy in some but not all years.
"We know that Super Bowl advertisers bring their A-game to the event," said Goldstein. "Their ads are more liked and more persuasive than everyday ads. Unfortunately memories of ads are short and they compete with other advertising memories made elsewhere."
It also means that a lot of those other surveys floating around on Monday will claim they have the right data about what the best ads were, but we know now that people can't be trusted with their memories.