To figure out the best Super Bowl ad of the year, Omnicom Group's Annalect data platform decided to ask random members of the public. Instead of talking to them, however, the marketing and communication agency used facial recognition technology to figure out which ads they really liked.
The ads that made the most people smile were from Mountain Dew, Marmot and Amazon Echo, while the commercials that generated the highest amounts of "happiness" were from Wix.com, Snickers and PayPal. Its results were drastically different from the most viewed ads on YouTube: Pokemon and two spots from T-Mobile.
"We were surprised by the insights," said Anna Nicanorova, the director of Annalect Labs, which helped run the study. "Sometimes the social media activity doesn't necessarily reflect how people react."
When it comes to judging public opinion on a movie or an ad, most companies rely on written or verbal surveys. or social media chatter. Thanks to advances in facial recognition technology and biometric sensors, like Apple Watches, companies now have insights into what exactly tugs at our heartstrings or fills us with rage.
With that knowledge, brands can create ads that not only find people at the right time and right place but in the right emotional state, said Slavi Samardzija, chief analytics officer at Omnicom Media Group's Annalect.
"We are in the business of changing consumer behaviors," he said. "If you think about a consumer and you think of all of that technology, it's kind of like a left brain and right brain. We can take all our data tools and utilize them. All these things impact the rational side and the emotional side of decision making."