On February 3, Super Bowl advertisers will face a big question: Do audiences prefer familiar campaigns or something new? To find out, Fast Company's Jillian Goodman donned a pair of Necomimi cat ears—which read brain waves and perk up as attention piques—then watched competing 60-second spots from 2012.
PREMISE: Elton John is an evil king who withholds Pepsi from his subjects, until X Factor winner Melanie Amaro defeats him.
0:07 | Curious
The spot opens inside a packed castle full of elaborate costumes. It's intriguing.
0:27 | Disappointed
Amaro bursts forth—drama! cat ears like!—then starts singing. Yawn. Cat ears down.
0:53 | Mildly interested
Amaro fells King Elton, drinks Pepsi with crowd. Knew it was coming. Ears only twitch.
0:58 | Hey now!
Biggest surprise of the spot: Flavor Flav cameo! Ears dart straight up.
PREMISE: One of the brand's polar bears tosses a Coke to another bear, but the catch is fumbled and sets off a football-style scrum.
0:15 | Perk up
After a dull setup of bears lounging around, the physical comedy sets in. Brain is alert.
0:27 | Meh
The bears are still crashing into each other. More of the same. Brain is drifting away.
0:41 | Sorta intrigued
Bear catches the Coke. Plot resolved. Finally, something new. Ears wiggle a bit.
0:50 | Eh, never mind
Oh, he's just going to stand there and enjoy his Coke? Attention lost.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.