Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Navy Vet
GRE 310, GPA 2.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Pizza For Breakfast
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Behavioral Changes
GRE 336, GPA 5.8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
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London Business School | Mr. Indian Banking Leader
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Columbia | Mr. Infra-Finance
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Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
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Kellogg | Ms. Retail To Technology
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Ross | Mr. Top 25 Hopeful
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Chicago Booth | Ms. Hotel Real Estate
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Yale | Mr. Gay Social Scientist
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MIT Sloan | Mrs. Company Leader
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UCLA Anderson | Mr. Career Change
GMAT Have yet to take. Consistent 705 on practice tests., GPA 3.5
HEC Paris | Mr. Introverted Dancer
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Kellogg | Mr. Safety Guy
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GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring FinTech Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fill In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Texas Recruiter
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USC Marshall | Mr. Strategy Consultant
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Berkeley Haas | Mr. Entertainment Agency
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Chicago Booth | Mr. Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7

Kellogg MBAs: The Best & Worst Super Bowl Ads

Every Super Bowl for the past nine years, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School scrambles a bunch of its MBAs to sit down and watch–not the game but rather the high-priced commercials and to grade them.

This year it was 58 MBA students who did the judging and the winner was Tide, a P&G brand that earned top marks for its witty and quite clever “miracle stain” ad. Also scoring grades of A in the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review were M&M’s, Best Buy, Axe, Wonderful Pistachios and Jeep, while BlackBerry and Lincoln ranked at the bottom of the review.

BREAKING THROUGH THE CLUTTER OF A MASSIVE NUMBER OF ADS AND A GAME

“Tide really broke through the clutter with a very engaging spot,” said Tim Calkins, the marketing professor who leads the event with a panel of students from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “At Kellogg, our Review evaluates the ads based on strategic execution and the potential to build brands. Tide, M&M’s and Best Buy all did a terrific job connecting engaging spots to product benefits.

This year’s Super Bowl featured several long ads with elaborate stories. The Jeep and Samsung spots did well, earning an A and B grade, respectively, while Dodge finished in the middle of the pack. Another leader was Budweiser’s 60-second Clydesdale promotion, although Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light and Budweiser Black Crown ads did not fare well, pulling the company’s overall ranking down.

BLACKBERRY, LINCOLN, CENTURY 21, CALVIN KLEIN AND GO DADDY FLUNK THE REVIEW

BlackBerry finished at the bottom of the ranking due to weak branding and the lack of a compelling benefit. Other advertisers receiving low scores included Century 21, Calvin Klein, Subway, Lincoln and Go Daddy.

“We’ve come to expect Go Daddy to fare poorly in the annual Review, but were surprised at the Lincoln and BlackBerry ads,” said Derek D. Rucker, an associate professor of marketing who also leads the Review. “Both companies have been struggling as of late and really needed to score a touchdown with their Super Bowl spots. Unfortunately, both fell flat and failed to give consumers a compelling reason to care about their brands.”

Unlike other popularity-based reviews, the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review uses a strategic academic framework known as ADPLAN.  The acronym, developed by Kellogg School faculty, instructs viewers to grade ads based on Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net equity.

“This was a solid year for Super Bowl advertisers, though we didn’t necessarily see any breakthrough spots that will be memorable for years to come,” said John Felton, one of 58 Kellogg MBA students who participated on the Ad Review panel.

 

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.