• Friday, Oct. 22, 2021
TMA survey delves into viewers' preferences for Super Bowl ads
Megan McMahon
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TMA (The Marketing Arm), a Dallas-based creative agency and one of the largest buyers of celebrity talent for Big Game ads, has launched the first annual TMA Super Poll. The poll, which assesses consumers’ preferences towards advertising in the Big Game, was conducted in August 2021 among a representative sample of 1,000 respondents across geographies, ages, genders, ethnicities and generations (e.g. Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X).

“With more than 90% of the commercial time already sold, many advertisers are now moving forward to produce this year’s crop of Big Game ads. As an agency that  creates cultural resonance for brands, we wanted to know what viewers might be thinking, so we could counsel those clients and marketers who plan to advertise in this year’s game, accordingly,” said Megan McMahon, SVP of celebrity & influencer at TMA.

Following is a summary of the survey’s key findings:

  • The Big Game appears to represent a prime opportunity for marketing to women. Almost as many people watch it for the commercials (43%) as for the game (57%). However, women are far more likely to watch it for the ads (60%).
  • The strategy of employing celebrities in Big Game ads works. More than half of all viewers prefer Big Game commercials with celebrities (54%).  The preference is even greater among Black (68%) and Hispanic (62%) viewers.
  • Pre-releasing ads before the game seems at odds with viewers’ preferences. An overwhelming majority (89%) would prefer to see a Big Game ad for the first time during the game.
  • People are looking for escapism. Nearly all viewers want Big Game ads to make them laugh (97%). Related to this, the majority (71%) would prefer that advertisers stay away from political messages. 
  • Don’t make viewers work. Contrary to the trend toward interactive ads, most viewers (70%) would prefer not to interact with ads or be called upon to take an action (e.g., post, vote, etc.)
  • A longstanding presence in the Big Game pays off for brands.  Consistent Big Game advertisers, such as Budweiser, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Doritos, are the brands viewers most look forward to seeing in the game.

The celebrities viewers most want to see in Big Game ads are Hollywood heavyweights with a robust social media presence.  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tops this list by a wide margin. Kevin Hart and Drake score well among Black viewers. 


#1 Dwayne Johnson

#2 Jennifer Lopez

#2 Lady Gaga

#4 Kevin Hart

#5 Taylor Swift

#6 Drake

#6 Britney Spears

#8 Ryan Reynolds


Celebrities with a background in music are more likely to be remembered.  Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez are among the top 10, with Beyonce in the top spot.  


#1 Beyonce

#2 Ashton Kutcher

#2 Matthew McConaughey

#4 Britney Spears

#4 Michael Jackson

#4 Betty White

#7 Cardi B

#8 Peyton Manning

#9 Dwayne Johnson

#10 Jennifer Lopez

#10 Tom Brady


Tom Brady is by far the most popular Big Game quarterback. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are the only other active QBs in the top ranks.


#1 Tom Brady

#2 Peyton Manning

#3 Joe Montana

#4 Brett Favre

#5 Aaron Rodgers

#5 Drew Brees

#7 Patrick Mahomes

#8 John Elway

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