Ace Metrix, Mountain View, Calif., revealed the top-performing ads of Super Bowl XLVIII, which honed in on heroes, inspiration and patriotism with the least amount of humor in years, it reports. Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser brand tied with Hyundai for the No. 2 spot with its “Puppy Love” commercial. The ad received an Ace Score of 681. Its “Hero’s Welcome” ad also was well received, taking the No. 5 spot with a score of 675. Budweiser was the only beverage brand to make the Top 10 list, according to Ace Metrix measurements.

However, the St. Louis-based beer-maker’s Bud Light brand ranked twice on Ace Metrix’s list of the least effective Super Bowl XLVIII ads. Its “Epic Night Continued” commercial took the No. 4 spot with an Ace Score of 499, and its “Epic Night” ad ranked ninth with an Ace Score of 472.

Microsoft took the top honors with its ad, “Empowering,” which earned the second highest Ace Score in history at 710, it reports.

“Super Bowl advertisers seized the opportunity to inspire rather than divide this year,” said Ace Metrix Chief Executive Officer Peter Daboll in a statement. “Many of the advertisers were smarter about their creative approach and rewarded the enormous, demographically balanced audience that is the Super Bowl. The best ads employed a range of creative strategies delivering ads that inspired, applauded and celebrated America.”

Statistically, Super Bowl XLVIII delivered the most effective advertising since Ace Metrix began tracking the game in 2010, it states. Scores for this year’s game averaged 574 versus 552 for each of the last two years. Super Bowl advertisers also upped their use of celebrities, not just in the number of spots (up 10 percent compared with 2013), but also in the number of celebrities that appeared in the ads. For instance, Radio Shack triumphed with its 80s-era celebrity-filled ad, capturing fourth place for the game, while Subway and Bud Light also delivered multiple celebrities but with less success, it points out.

Super Bowl XLVIII also marked a shift toward longer-format storytelling. Forty-three percent of ads were 60 seconds or longer — up from 30 percent last year and less in years prior. Almost 25 percent of the ads in the 2014 game featured stories of patriotism and heroes, including Budweiser’s “Hero’s Welcome” and The Coca-Cola Co.’s Americana-influenced pieces.

Although as many as ever attempted humor, the game was 12 percent less funny than last year, with the lowest average Funny Index of the last five years, Ace Metrix reports. Approximately 67 percent of ads each year attempt humor, including six of this year’s Top 10 ads, but advertisers used a safer, smarter approach to humor this year, vying for the relatable chuckle rather than the polarizing risks of years past, it notes.

Ace Score measures an ad’s creative effectiveness based on viewer reaction to national TV ads. Respondents are randomly selected and representative of the U.S. TV-viewing audience. The results are presented on a scale of 1-950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as persuasion, relevance, information, attention, change, desire and watchability.