UI Students Analyze Super Bowl Commercials

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter


By Eric Stidman

IOWA CITY, Iowa - They're now online before they're on TV.

If you felt struck by Déjà vu watching Super Bowl Ads Sunday night, you were not alone.

"Social media is starting to play a big role in this,” explained Sara Mouw, a University of Iowa Graduate Student in Marketing. “Brands want to promote prior to it."

Advertisers are releasing commercials before game day on Youtube - Twitter and Facebook. But is this keeping more than half of viewers from tuning in to watch the million dollar spots?

"The ads will be a little less shocking, because people have seen part of them,” said Mouw, “maybe they won't be so surprised, maybe the humor is gone a little bit too.”

But, the students tell us, putting an ad out early isn't a total game changer. They say the spot will still hit its mark with the audience as long as the commercial gets to the point and leaves a lasting impression.

"There's three things an advertiser needs to do,” says Ben Van Someren, also in the UI’s Graduate program, “brand recognition is number one, then memorability, and did you get the message."

Each year, the students rank the commercials based on these criteria putting the ads in categories: “funny”, “boring”, “memorable”, and “what was that brand again?”

This year, they also added an overall rank category (1-10), and a category which asks the viewer if he or she would buy what was advertised based on the commercial.

Some, like the Audi Vampire commercial which aired in the first quarter, went over very well with the audience. This ad had also had aired online and on TV prior to the Super Bowl.

UI student and Graduate Assistant, Pat Downes, explained to us the commercial had humor, was fast-paced, but still focused on Audi’s LED headlights. A feature that is both unique and memorable for the company.

"That's brand recognition for them,” Downes said, “so they hit right on that. I thought it was great. People in here were laughing during it."

Other ads that had students laughing were the M&M “Just My Shell” and the VW Dog Strikes Back commercials.

Here are the rankings:


1) M&M's "Naked" Ad
2) (tie) Honda CRV: Matthew Broderick
2) (tie) Chevy "Graduation Gift"
4) E*Trade Nursey
5) Doritos "Slingshot Baby"

More likely to purchase due to ads

1) M&M's
2) Doritos
3) Coke
4) Budweiser
5) Hyundai

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