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Kellogg MBAs loved Microsoft's touching ad on the benefits of technology

Kellogg MBAs loved Microsoft’s touching ad on the benefits of technology

Microsoft Tops 2014 Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review


Last week, Poets&Quants profiled the Super Bowl Advertising Review at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Here, Kellogg students evaluate Super Bowl ads according to a six-point ADPLAN framework, which measures a spot’s success in areas like grabbing attention, distinguishing itself from competitors, and reinforcing brand.

This year, ads featured fare like stylish British villains, Doritos-fueled time machines, and Radio Shack dumping inventory on our favorite 80s characters. There was laughter, suspense, tears, and poor taste. Question is, did any spots get a return on their $4 million dollar price tag?

According to the Kellogg student panel on Super Bowl Advertising, the biggest winners were Microsoft, Cheerios, Heinz, Volkswagen, Butterfinger, and Budweiser. “Microsoft not only led the ranking, it also embodied the inspirational tone of many of the ads this year,” said Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing. “This sentiment also was reflected in the Cheerios and Heinz ads, both of which elicited the basic good feelings consumers associate with the brands.”

And the losers in Super Bowl Advertising? Kellogg listed Carmax, Subway, and Audi. Kellogg’s press release noted that “Audi finished at the bottom of the ranking, mainly because the ad featured a somewhat disturbing dog character that overwhelmed the brand. Other ads that fell flat include CarMax and SUBWAY; the CarMax ad was slightly confusing and the SUBWAY spot didn’t have the creativity required to break through the clutter.”

2014 also reflected the increasing importance of social media, with Super Bowl Advertising designed not only to build brand and goose sales, but also generate hits on social media sites. While critics initially claimed social media would dilute the importance of Super Bowl advertising. Calkins has seen the opposite: “I actually think it only makes it bigger. The thing about social media is, you need something to talk about.  If you’re advertising on the Super Bowl, you’re creating all sorts of topics to talk about in the weeks leading up to the game.”

Twitter, in particular, has changed the playing field. Kellogg Professor Derek Rucker observes that we, as consumers, don’t watch television in the same as ten years ago. “We do it with iphones, ipads, and what have you.” As a result, the objective of the ads have evolved: “What you do with the spot is you use it as a platform, where you can then do things before and after the spot…The more you can do around it (on social media), the more value you get.”

To learn what Rucker and Calkins believe makes great Super Bowl Advertising, click here.

To see how various brands have performed over the years at the Review, click here.

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