Voters rate each commercial on a multi-point scale. Participants vote the day of the event to decide the winning (and losing) commercials, but visitors to the site can rate the commercials throughout the year and see how their ratings compare to those of the winning ads. Results are typically presented in several categories, including Top 10 Overall, Women's Choice, Men's Choice, Ages under 17, and Ages 18+, with other categories tracked as appropriate (such as political party during election years). All demographic information participants are asked to submit is optional.
The idea for Adbowl began when McKee Wallwork Cleveland hosted a Super Bowl commercials party and handed out paper ballots so guests could vote on what they thought were the best commercials that year. The website was launched the following year. ADBOWL has been featured in major publications including the New York Times.
In February 2010, McKee Wallwork Cleveland launched an Adbowl app for the iPhone.