For the ninth consecutive year this Super Bowl Sunday, Kellogg marketing professors Derek Rucker and Tim Calkins led the Super Bowl Advertising Review, a wide-ranging discussion of the effectiveness of commercials aired during the big game. North by Northwestern asked Rucker over email about this year's roundup of advertisements and how they stacked up to previous years.
Tell us about the Super Bowl Ad Review. When did it start, and why do you do it every year?
The Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review is an opportunity for our MBAs to take course concepts they have learned in the classroom and apply them to understand the most important advertising event of the year. They not only gain practice critiquing advertisements in real time, but have a chance to discuss why some spots fell strategically flat or rose to the cream of the crop.
What makes a good Super Bowl ad? Do you think last night’s were effective?
A truly great spot will have the perfect blend of great creative and great strategy. At the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review, unlike popularity poles, we focus on how much branding and strategic soundness accompanied an advertisement.
What stood out about last night’s commercials? Did anything surprise you?
I would say the two tail ends of our distribution, Tide, both stood out and surprised me. Tide was one of the few that I thought linked good strategy with clever creative, and took full advantage of the game being played by acknowledging the teams. Blackberry, in contrast, really needed to have a breakthrough spot and the lack of clear differentiation led it to fall short for our panel.What kinds of trends are we seeing in high-budget advertising? What changes are we seeing from year to year?
The biggest and clearest trend we saw this year is that brands were making an effort to engage the consumer during the Super Bowl. This was reflected in brands tweeting throughout the game and, in particular, commenting during the blackout. I fully suspect we will see brands try to engage consumers more and more in this fashion.
How does a hiccup in scheduling, like the 34-minute stadium blackout last night, affect advertising?
The biggest concern you have is that you lose audience members. The fact it occurred when the game looked like a possible blowout was also painful. There appeared to be some immediate amends by the network as they reran the pod that might have been affected. You also notice they kept the entire game live with no sponsored advertising showing they understand the deal. You can't roll the premier and expensive spots when the game is not on, as that not what brands are promised.