Forget your football team loyalty—If you're an advertiser spending $3.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial slot, your success hinges on something else: a close score.
A new study by Oregon State University (OSU) found that viewers will look more favorably on advertising after watching a close, exciting sporting event. Surprisingly, the finding holds true whether your favorite team wins or loses.
"Games with high excitement levels result in a transfer of that emotion to the ads - particularly to ads shown at the end of the game that also have a lot of energy and excitement built in," Colleen Bee, an OSU marketing expert and lead author of the study, said in a written statement.
The research, slated to appear this month in the Journal of Advertising, measured 112 people's responses to ads during a high-suspense game and a low-suspense game that featured a win or a loss. More exciting games yielded more positive reviews of the advertisements and brands than unexciting ones.
"We expected the outcome of a game to affect a viewer's attitude toward the brand and the ad itself, but we found that whether the favored team won or lost had no real impact," Bee said. "It was all about the excitement and intensity of the game."
The research falls in line with a host of other marketing studies on emotion and advertisements. Some of the most effective Super Bowl ads are ones that pull on your heart-strings, researchers say.
Some well-targeted ads can do extremely well even without the boost from a close game. In 2011, an ad for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat called "The Force" turned into an Internet sensation with 13 million views, hours before the game's kick-off, according to the Detroit Free Press.