The Super Bowl is well established as the most anticipated event of the year, but 2015 took its popularity to a new level – with over 114 million people tuning in, Super Bowl XLIX was the most watched TV program in history. Clearly the stakes are high for brands featured in highly anticipated and very expensive Superbowl ads.

Why then, do some of these ads end up viral hits and others flops? Those that succeed all share common elements – they speak to specific and deep human values that resonate with a wide consumer base. At the same time, they use messages that connect their brand appeal to narrower target audience. The results are creative, attention grabbing commercials that are almost universally relevant.

Here are some of the ads viewers liked best, according to the USA Today SuperBowl Ad Meter, and why they liked them, according to Resonate’s analysis of our own data about the values and motivations of the US population.

Budweiser – “Lost Dog”

Value appealed to: Close Friends and Family, important to 31% of U.S. Adults

Why it worked:
In the past decade, Budweiser has suffered steep decline in consumption, especially among younger drinkers. Late last year, the company announced an overhaul in advertising, primarily in effort to attract more millennials. With this change of direction the brand is faced with the challenge of avoiding alienating their core customers in the process of trying to appeal to new ones. Budweiser understands that the Super Bowl is not the best venue for niche targeting, so the brand stuck with what works. Continuing the now infamous Best Buds campaign, Budweiser’s 2015 Super Bowl spot was able to keep it traditional, while speaking to the universal theme friendship and loyalty, particularly important to some 58 million people who value Close Friends and Family The result? The most popular ad of the game.

Link: http://admeter.usatoday.com/commercials/budweiser-lost-dog-puppy-super-bowl-commercial/

Always – “Like a Girl”

Value appealed to: Self-Esteem– important to 11% of U.S. Adults.

Why it worked:
While young girls’ confidence might not seem to be a universally engaging topic, Always shaped their advertising in such a way that it resonates with almost everyone. Ostensibly, “Like a Girl” appeals to the 20 million Americans who value Self-Esteem. However, the secondary, and perhaps more important, message is to parents- telling them that to truly care for their daughters, they need to help ensure that they develop into confident women. Formatting the ad as such speaks directly to the 47 million parents of young daughters, who are, incidentally, 58 times more likely than others to value Taking Care of Family.

Link: http://admeter.usatoday.com/commercials/like-a-girl-always-super-bowl-commercial/

Microsoft – “Braylon”

Value appealed to: Personal Freedom, important to 31% of U.S. Adults

Why it worked:
With over 110 million people using Windows laptops alone, Microsoft consumers are an inherently diverse group with equally varied motivations. Despite the ubiquitous role Microsoft plays in the technology that runs our lives, what the brand exactly stands for has long been elusive. With Braylon, they are finally telling us. Microsoft is about more than staying connected and organized. It is about empowering people with technology that provides choices and control over the direction of our fates. And for the 44 million consumers who value their Personal Freedom, this message couldn’t be more important.

Link: http://admeter.usatoday.com/commercials/dodge-100-super-bowl-commercial/

Dodge – “Wisdom”

Value appealed to: Longevity and Health – important to 33% of U.S. Adults

Why it worked:
To make a truly memorable Super Bowl ad, Dodge recognized it was going to have to look beyond its 25-44 “irreverent male” core customer to achieve mass appeal, and the brand’s 100th anniversary provided the perfect context to do so. Focusing on the wisdom that comes with age addressed a much larger audience, namely the 60 million Americans who place distinct value on their Longevity and Health. The final advice of the ads’ sagacious centennials, telling us to “live fast”, and “be a bad boy”, however, spoke directly to Dodge’s established target audience. The result is an inclusive and emotional message with relevance across generations.

Link: http://admeter.usatoday.com/commercials/dodge-100-super-bowl-commercial/

Toyota – “My Bold Dad”

Value appealed to: Taking Care of Family – important to 43% of U.S. Adults

Why it worked:
A Toyota may be considered many things, safe, practical, eco-friendly, perhaps, but as the most popular car brand in America, a Toyota as a “bold choice” may seem contradictory. But, that is exactly the story the brand is going with for the 2015 Camry. “Bold Dad” tells audiences that being brave and strong doesn’t have to be shocking, and that our true boldness is revealed in the choices we make as we go about our everyday lives. While Taking Care of Family, important to some 80 million Americans, may seem commonplace, it can also be our gateway to heroism, just as a car as familiar as a Toyota can be bold.

Link: http://admeter.usatoday.com/commercials/bold-dad-toyota-super-bowl/