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STōK Coffee Scores Big with Unique Super Bowl Ad: Our Data Shows Why

Sir Anthony Hopkins in the SToK Coffee Super Bowl ad

While "Best/Worst Super Bowl Ad" lists are increasingly common these days, they are typically based on subjective opinions, asking viewers questions like “Did you like this ad?”. At Swayable, we run controlled experiments that prove cause and effect. What these measures is, did the ad cause a lift in actual demand for the product? That matches the actual definition of success for the campaign. 

And the most effective ad of this Super Bowl? STōK Coffee's spot starring Anthony Hopkins. 

The ad features Anthony Hopkins preparing for the role of a lifetime: as the red-plush on-field mascot of Wrexham A.F.C., a British football (aka soccer) team. He ends the ad by crediting STōK Coffee’s cold brew in preparing for the role. 

Swayable's research success team conducted a test to assess brand advertising in the Super Bowl before ads aired in the big game. This allowed us to isolate the performance of the ad creative against Brand Lift and Purchase Consideration without factors associated with commentary and later discussion of the ads once they were shown in the game. Here is what we found for the STōK Coffee creative.

Significantly increased brand perception and purchase consideration

This RCT test included responses from 942 U.S. consumers, approximately half of whom saw a control video and half saw the STōK Coffee ad. The primary metrics were Brand Lift and Brand Consideration, each defined by several questions:

Among all audiences, the ad had a +6-point effect on Brand Lift and a +8-point effect on Brand Consideration. The results were significant at a 99%+ confidence level. This places it among the top 5% of all ads tested on the Swayable platform. 

Of particular note, the ad was very effective across the age spectrum. In terms of Brand Consideration, it had a +8-point impact among all age cohorts. In Brand Lift, it was slightly more effective with younger cohorts (+7 points) than older ones (+5 points), but the difference was relatively small. 

At Swayable, we loved to see this result, and not just because we’re big fans of Anthony Hopkins. On Super Bowl Sunday, most of the ads are saturated with traditional American football imagery. STōK Coffee took a punny, unexpected risk approach by using British football rather than American. This, combined with Hopkins' star power and engaging storytelling, resonated with viewers.

Beyond data, open-ended responses revealed viewers not only responded to the message but also enjoyed the ad itself. Quotes from various age groups showcase its positive impact: 

Among Gen-Z audiences:

“Very nice commercial 🥺 would buy the cold coffee brand and share with my family and friends” – 24-year-old woman from Galveston, TX

“I thought it was funny and it made me wanna drink coffee.” – 23-year-old woman from Tulsa, OK

Among Millennial audiences:

“It made me thirsty. I love cold brew but I like how the commercial caught my attention because it made me curious at first. I never imaged it would be a cold brew commercial in the end. Nice job making it interesting.” – 34-year-old woman from Manassas, VA

“It was a good advert. Most don't know how to advertise well but this is close to how you make a memorable product.” – 30-year-old man from Mountain Home, ID

“I thought it was amazing love the actor in it and probably some very good coffee need to try me some stoks cold brew.” – 32-year-old woman from Cullman, AL

Among Gen-X audiences:

“The video was hilarious, and made me chuckle. Even though the product advertised is usually just a luxury purchase, this commercial made me want to add said product to my grocery list. The use of comedy, a soccer team owned by beloved celebrities, and one of the greatest actors in history, made the product a lot more appealing than just seeing it in the store.” – 40-year-old woman from Bloomington, IN

“I love it. Brilliant job, Stok. You really put some effort, not to mention cash, into this campaign. Kudos.” – 53-year-old man from Louisville, KY

STōK Coffee's Super Bowl ad didn't just stand out from the crowd, it also had a significant positive impact on increasing brand perception and purchase intent. By taking a creative risk with its British football theme and featuring the iconic Anthony Hopkins, they created a unique, memorable ad that drove real impact across all age groups. This case study serves as a testament to the power of effective storytelling and innovative approaches to advertising, even in a saturated market like the Super Bowl.

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This monadic RCT survey experiment was conducted on Swayable over 24 hours between Feb 9 and 10 with responses from 942 U.S. consumers. Questions were asked of a general population sample aged 18+, using Swayable’s proprietary online platform. 

The sample frame is U.S. smartphone users in all 50 states with active internet connections who are users of popular mobile and web apps that make up Swayable’s network of respondent partners. Respondents are solicited from partner apps with non-monetary reward offers for their participation. Respondents were recruited with an approximately even ratio of men and women imposed via separate quotas for each. This is a “non-probability sample” (in the conventional terminology of public opinion research, although this team’s position is that this concept is not meaningful since truly random sampling of the population is not possible via any methodology). To correct for over/under-sampling, all samples are post-stratified to the general U.S. population using cross-tabulations accounting for factors including age, ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and geography, based on the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Swayable’s proprietary population modeling. Margins of error quoted are based on response distribution statistics and sample sizes and are calculated independently for each given result.

This research was conducted and self-funded by Swayable.