Sure, the Eagles’s first-ever Super Bowl win is a big deal, but according to a team of 50-odd MBA students at the Kellogg School of Management, Amazon was a big winner in strategic ad rankings with its “Alexa Loses Her Voice” ad in the 14th consecutive Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review.
Two Kellogg marketing professors think businesses can learn a lot from which ads resonate with the audience, and for the past 14 years have been leading a panel of MBA students who grade the spots on their effectiveness in real time during the game.
“Amazon used a cast of celebrities that focused us on the brand, reinforced the equity in Alexa, and ultimately was fun to discuss and share with those around you,” says Derek D. Rucker, Sandy & Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies in Marketing at the Kellogg School.
Other brands that earned top marks this year include Mountain Dew, Doritos, Tide, Avocados from Mexico, and Wendy’s. “However, Squarespace and T-Mobile both missed the mark with questionable positioning and unclear calls to action,” Rucker notes. Each received an F for least effective advertising during this year’s Super Bowl.
The Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review uses a strategic academic framework known as ADPLAN to evaluate the effectiveness of Super Bowl spots in building the advertiser’s brand. The acronym instructs viewers to grade ads based on:
Attention: Does the ad engage the audience?
Distinction: Is the execution unique in delivery?
Positioning: Is the appropriate category represented and a strong benefit featured?
Linkage: Will the brand and benefit be remembered?
Amplification: Are viewers’ thoughts favorable?
Net equity: Is the ad consistent with the brand’s history and reputation?
Two ongoing trends emerged throughout the big game – competitive angle in many ads and philanthropic efforts.
“As competitive as the game was, the category wars were equally competitive. For example, there was hard hitting competition in the wireless wars with some brands calling one another out,” said Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at Kellogg, who co-leads the school’s Ad Review. “Many brands tried to appeal to viewers through philanthropic causes, including Toyota, Ram and Hyundai.”
However, social media backlash against the Ram advertisement, which featured a voice-over of a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr and a message of serving others, was immediate. Writes one sarcastic user on Twitter: “If you thought that MLK/Dodge commercial was bad, just wait until you see the upcoming Carl’s Jr. ad starring Gandhi.”
With a base price of $4.5 million for these ads, advertisers take an expensive gamble on commercial spots they hope will resonate and stick with consumers. The Ram ad may have garnered a C grade from the Kellogg team, but folks across the interwebs gave Ram a solid Fail for it.
A full list of the rankings is available here.
[image via screengrab]