February 6, 2002

Professor Analyzes Super Bowl Ads

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The last week of January is usually synonymous with one thing – THE SUPER BOWL. Thousands flock to big screen televisions, grab a slice of pizza and a drink, and sit down to watch…television commercials?

Ten years ago, someone may have read that statement and laughed, but not anymore. Today, many viewers tune into see just what Budweiser and Pepsi will do next. “Whassss up” has even become a household phrase due to savvy Super Bowl advertising.

“Commercials are definitely one of the reasons I watch the game,” explains junior Jess Rak. “When the game gets boring, I’ll change the channel but I’ll flip back just to watch the commercials.”

Rak is not alone explains Dr. Douglas Stayman, associate professor of marketing in the Johnson Graduate School of Management.

“One sixth of the people watch it [the Super Bowl] more for the ads than the game. It has become part of the cultural fabric.”

Stayman would know, an expert on Super Bowl commercials, he has spent the past few years analyzing these ads with the Johnson School Marketing Club.

He explains that the custom allows, “…students to get an appreciation for advertising as an investment and [to see] what really makes a good ad.”

Stayman stressed the importance the project provides in helping to truly grasp the concepts of advertising.

“It’s learning, but really, a lot of fun learning.”

On Thursday the Marketing Club, under the direction of Stayman, will sit down and analyze every commercial.

“We will go commercial by commercial and evaluate the ads for relevance,” explains Club President, First Year MBA candidate, B.T. Nauslar. “[We will also look to see] if they are actionable, if they are memorable and if they are persuasive. We will then try to determine whether or not we think they hit or miss with regards to what they are trying to communicate. Basically, we are seeing if all the money they spent was worth it or not.”

The club is under good direction, as Stayman has made quite a name for himself in the world of Super Bowl commercial analyzing. This can be symbolized by the constant ringing of his telephone after the conclusion of the game.

Radio, newspapers, and magazines all contact Stayman asking him what he thinks were the most successful commercials. This year however, was slightly different.

“There was less [phone calls] this year, less interest in the Super Bowl ads this year,” explains Stayman. “I think it has to do with the economy and September 11.”

Despite the slight drop in interest, commercials still seem to be a favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday.

But what are the experts’ picks for the best Super Bowl Commercial? Stayman and Nauslar both agree that Budweiser took the top prize.

Oh and wait, wasn’t there a football game on too? Nauslar admitted that he wasn’t really watching for the ads on Sunday, as he will spend two hours discussing them tomorrow. Who did he root for?

“I was going for the underdog, so I was happy the Patriots won.”

Archived article by Kristen Haunss