We love our Super Bowl commercials, especially in marketing programs, but I thought this USA Today article, “Who’s the real winner of Super Bowl LIII? Hint: It’s not the Patriots or the Rams” was a good example of a few different marketing concepts. According to the article, roughly 1.38 billion (yes, billion) chicken wings are expected to be consumed during this year’s Super Bowl – poor chickens! That number appears to be steadily increasing each year. Interestingly, women eat more wings than men on Super Bowl Sunday though men eat more food overall. The article talks about why wings are so popular and it’s a good example of a marketing opportunity to capitalize on a cultural tradition.
I really enjoy these Marketoonist cartoons because they can succinctly capture great marketing concepts and students never object to discussing a cartoon.
Another Super Bowl has come and gone and it’s actually impressive how many people mention the advertisements as a major draw for watching the game. If you want to make a splash, you need to come up with a creative, funny, or heartwarming ad to have a shot at making the list of “top Super Bowl ads”. At $5M for a 30 second commercial, companies are making a big bet on the value of these novel ads but are they actually worth it? I didn’t watch this year’s Super Bowl so I asked my students which ads were worth taking a look at and it was interesting to hear how they referenced the ads and what they took away from them. Some companies did a great job of entertaining and associating their brand or value proposition. In particular, the Tide series of commercials seemed to do a great job. The design was creative and funny but they also reinforced the brand name and value proposition numerous times. Amazon also created an amusing ad that entertained but also informed viewers about the capabilities of their Alexa-powered devices. In contrast, several students said they thought the commercial “where Eli Manning dances” was also pretty good but when I asked what the ad was about, who was the ad for, and what message should we take away they all scratched their heads. The commercial was clearly amusing and entertaining but the message and even the brand being advertised (NFL) was obscure and not memorable.
Are Super Bowl ads worth the price tag? If so, which objectives can they best satisfy (pioneering, competitive, or reminding)?
Kellogg Professor Derek Rucker and his MBA students evaluated ads based on their ability to achieve strategic objectives — sure beats the popularity contests we usually have. You can hear what Derek has to say in this BusinessWeek video
The day after the Super Bowl there are plenty of pundits ready to crown the best and worst ads shown during yesterday’s game. Plus, there are plenty of sites dedicated to crowning fan favorites — see “Super Bowl Ads 2010” at the Wall Street Journal (I don’t think you need a subscription here), which as of this writing ranks the Audi “Green Car” as tops based on the votes of WSJ readers. Probably the grand daddy of Super Bowl ratings, the USA Today Ad Meter (which uses a panel of 250 adult volunteers) had the Mars’ Snickers with Betty White at the top (we embedded that ad below). Here at “Teach the 4 Ps” used the Media Curves widget (see post below) — it’s online voters ranked the Budweiser Bull #1. All these sites include links to all the ads. Among pundits, you might enjoy reading reviews of the ads from Seth Stevenson at Slate.com, Stuart Elliott at the New York Times, or Bob Garfield over at Advertising Age (subscription may be required for this last one).
By the way, I would love to hear how you use these ads in class. I usually show a couple of the AdMeter’s top rated ads and one of the lower ads. I explain the research methodology used by USA Today. Then I ask students why the top ones are “better.” Eventually, I ask how we should judge these ads — and use it to bring us back to Promotion objectives. If the objective is “likeable among a large cross-section of Americans” then these ads score well — but maybe the goals are to drive purchase, build awareness, or inform a particular target market. This points out that these “popularity contests” may not be the best metric for judging the success of these commercials.
I will try to send you a variety of post Super Bowl advertising links on Monday. But if you are looking for something real-time, check this out. If you click on the “Learn More” link in the widget, you can read about the research methodology that Media Curves employs. It might be interesting in class to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the approach in a market research class.
Media Curves is conducting a study with thousands of Americans on the 2010 Super Bowl commercials. Participants of the study will evaluate the ads shortly after they air during the game. As the preliminary results come in, an online widget (see right) will be updated with the ads’ scores and overlaying “curves” to represent real-time interest levels.
The top 20 commercials from the previous year’s study are displayed until the first commercial from the 2010 Super Bowl is ready. After the study has concluded, the widget will be updated with the final results.