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The 10 Most Compelling Rio Olympics Ads, According to Facial-Tracking Technology


The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to an end, and over the past few weeks, marketers have spent at least $1.2 billion on national ads in hopes of making their brands known. Now, the question is: Which ones will be remembered?

According to the emotion measurement firm Realeyes, 10 Olympics ads stand above the rest in terms of being emotionally compelling. Based on the feed from a web cam, Realeyes, working with audience platform Lucid, used machine learning and artificial intelligence to track the movements of 49 key facial points on 4,500 people to understand what each person thought and felt. After test subjects watched dozens of Olympics ads, the data was then analyzed with an algorithm to understand which emotions were most prevalent. 

Based on the results, a TV spot from Hershey's starring gymnast Simone Biles took home the gold. The ad, "Hello From Home," featured friends and family talking about Biles and culminated with the gold medal winner opening a box of letters.

According to Realeyes CEO Mihkel Jäätma, the ad was done in a "really human, simple way" that resonated with its audience. So far, the two-minute video has been viewed on YouTube nearly 3.3 million times.

"Brands and agencies always assume that the more polished or the highest paid celebrity or the best agencies are good quality, but that's not always the case," he said. "And that's why we aim to do this thing to see what really resonates with people."

While "Hello from Home" received a score of 92.5 percent for how compelling it was compared to other ads, the lowest score went to Head and Shoulders featuring the diver David Boudia. The ad received a score of just 7 percent. (So far it's only been viewed 276,000 times.)

Jäätma said the standard Olympics ads so often focus on "blood, sweat and tears," but a human story is often even more critical. However, that doesn't always resonate with a broader audience—even though it's for a sports-centric event.

What's also interesting is comparing the Olympics ads—which are by no means cheap—with Super Bowl ads. Jäätma said more than half of the ads studies were just the "standard, sort of runaround and train hard stuff." However, the Super Bowl ads are more diverse with storylines.

Costanza Scarpa, head of content at Realeyes, said the Super Bowl has evolved from being merely a major sporting event to mainstream entertainment. Because of that, Super Bowl commercials have followed suit.

"There's a lot more diversity in the content that you see at the Super Bowl, whereas Olympic advertising is very much on-message," she said. "It's based on inspiring stories of blood, sweat and tears (and) athletics. But it's much harder for an ad to stand out because they all follow a very similar message, and that I think limits the creative breadth a little bit."

Here's the full Realeyes list of the top 10:




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