Kellogg Grades 2009 Super Bowl Ads, Gets A+

With game day behind us (go Pittsburgh!), we checked back in for the results of the fifth annual Kellogg School of Management Super Bowl Advertising Review. As expected, the panel found that value messages and competitive claims were the order of the day, given the current financial crisis.

“Super Bowl advertisers were clearly trying to drive sales in a soft economy,” said Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing who leads the annual review. “The game continues to be the single biggest marketing event in the United States, but this year we saw the impact of the weak economy.”

Kellogg crowned as best in show, with advertisements by, Doritos, E*Trade and Denny’s rounding out the top spots. Because of significant strategic concerns, dismal grades were handed out to H&R Block,, Vizio and Toyota. The major stinker this year was the dancing lizard of SoBe Lifewater; the Kellogg panel called the overall messaging confusing with the addition of characters from the upcoming DreamWorks film “Monsters vs. Aliens.”

Students and faculty looked beyond mere likability when ranking these advertisements; using a Kellogg-developed criteria known as ADPLAN, participants quantified each spot’s Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net equity.

Assistant professor of marketing Derek Rucker, who also leads the Review, noted, “Consumers don’t have the capacity to remember more than a handful of ads long-term. The ultimate Super Bowl success is when a consumer not only remembers your brand, but is called to action by your ad’s message.”


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