Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Military MedTech
GRE 310, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Mr. Aspiring Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Advisory Consultant
GRE 330, GPA 2.25
Kellogg | Mr. Equity To IB
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Marketing Master
GRE 316, GPA 3.8
Darden | Ms. Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6

Kellogg MBAs Pick The Real Winners Of The Super Bowl

Tim Calkins working with students

Tim Calkins working with students


Overall, six brands – Toyota, Doritos, Budweiser, Audi, T-Mobile, and TurboTax earned A’s from the group. The Audi commercial featuring Buzz Aldrin was another storytelling dynamo that stuck out to Rucker. “I love the notion of this guy just sitting in chair,” Rucker describes. “He’d gone to space and what does he do now” And Audi, through the art of R8, really rekindles the love and excitement. So there’s really this metaphor. It’s hyperbole, but it really tells you what the brand is. There was an aspirational association with Audi, which I thought was pretty neat.”

Beyond the storyline, Audi stood out for a different reason, Rucker adds. “If you look at all the ads, we thought, overall, the brands played it pretty safe and went for the humor approach…They were one of the few who didn’t do it like everyone else.” What’s more, in going for the inspirational, Audi was elevated above competitors like the Kia Optima, which relied on the discount rack imagery of Christopher Walken’s sock puppet.

Like Toyota’s Prius getaway, the Audi Astronaut ad fit many of the characteristics that Firestone cites for making a great ads. “Does it grab your attention? Do you remember it? And the piece that many ads struggled with last night was does it link strongly to what the brand is and what the positioning of that brand is? Not only that, but how does that link to Incentivize you to buy that product?”


The only ad to earn an F in Kellogg’s Super Bowl Ad Review was SquareSpace, which relied on comedians Key & Peele to deliver their message. Muddled, self-indulgent and outright weird, this creative run amok failed on several levels, says Rucker.

“When the ad ended, you could just look around the room and people were like, ‘I don’t get it.’ There’s confusion because people don’t know why they should use the benefit or why they should use the product. Some aren’t sure what the product is or what the product does. It’s a missed opportunity strategically. You spent $5 million: Let’s get across why we are excellent and why we should be used. That was a misfire for us.”

In between Toyota and SquareSpace, you’ll find Fitbit, a fundamentally solid “B” ad that checked all the boxes. The product was immediately recognizable and used throughout the spot in various contexts. And it touched nearly every demographic. However, it failed to pop alongside other spots with higher production values and more bombastic messaging.  “You can have basics of strategy in there,” explains Rucker. “In the Super Bowl, there are so many amazing ads that when you come up with something that would catch your eye on normal television, it might fail there.”