Episode 33 – Super Bowl 50 Ad Review

It is that one day of the year when all, or should I say most ad blockers get turned off. That day is Super Bowl Sunday.

For some of us, the big game is somewhat important, but for advertisers it's the most important day of the year.

In this podcast, we dive into the most expensive television advertising day of the year. Corporate America has to decide if 30 seconds of airtime during the Superbowl is worth the $5 Million price-tag. And, for many it is, but they also have to develop an advertisement that will pay off with sales; otherwise they have wasted a humongous amount of money.

So, on our show today are two marketing experts that will offer their opinions on the ads from Super Bowl #50. We are speaking with the author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing, Roger Dooley. and also Professor Tim Calkins of the Kellogg School of Management. Their varied opinions will have us all looking back and considering just how well the Millions of dollars were spent at Super Bowl #50.

Super Bowl advertising is incredibly difficult.
— Professor Tim Calkins
To me on average, the ads this year were less engaging than in the past.
— Roger Dooley

As I spoke with Roger and Tim, we noticed several factors that the marketing gurus at these corporate facilities had to attack in the development of these Super Bowl commercials:

  • The normal target market is somewhat irrelevant. They had to appeal to the complete audience.

  • They had to create such a memorable few seconds, that the ad, and their brand would be remembered for many months from that placement.

  • They must appeal to people's emotions whether that's laughter, sadness, shock or even anger.

So, let's just summarize a bit from each of these marketing masters:

Roger Dooley

Roger Dooley, Author of Brainfluence

Roger Dooley, Author of Brainfluence

Roger is the man behind the Brainy Marketing blog at Forbes. He also has his own website called Neuroscience Marketing.

Roger shows marketers how to use the power of persuasion through psychology in their marketing approaches. I am sure he was studying how each marketer used these approaches in their Super Bowl ad placements.

When you have to ask yourself, which brand ran that ad, it’s a pretty good bet that they kind of failed at what they were hoping to accomplish.
— Roger Dooley

Roger explained that he believes humor was a key element in the Super Bowl 50 ads. In his opinion, the Doritos Ultrasound ad achieved this mix. Roger rated it the best of these ads.

Other ads fell short of Roger's idea of success. "The constipation and IBS ads were a waste of money," he said.

The constipation and IBS ads were a waste of money.
— Roger Dooley

Professor Tim Calkins

Tim Calkins, Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School

Tim Calkins, Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School

Tim has always studied the Super Bowl ads. As a matter of fact, he wrote some pieces on this subject at his personal website: timcalkins.com.

Tim, as a Professor at Kellogg School of Management uses the Super Bowl ads to engage his students. He created a Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review in which the students gather and evaluate all the ads and rate most effective to the least effective. He asks his students 1 primary question:

Will it build the business and will it build the brand?
— Professor Tim Calkins

He uses the ads as a learning zone having his students evaluate a 6 part framework. They are:

  1. Attention
  2. Distinction
  3. Position
  4. Linkage
  5. Amplification
  6. Net Equity

This is a framework that can be applied to any communication campaign. By using the framework, you can turn off personal bias. It is about creating a buzz and excitement using emotion.

Do I like it is not the right question.
— Professor Tim Calkins

This interview with two marketing pros was ultra interesting for me, and I know it will be for you too. So, enjoy this podcast about the Super Bowl 50's five Million Dollar commercials.


Thanks to our expert guests

Roger Dooley, Author and Speaker

Roger Dooley, Author and Speaker

Roger Dooley is the author ofBrainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing as well as the popular blog Neuromarketing. He speaks to large and small groups about brain-based marketing strategies that get real-world results.

Tim Calkins, Professor of Marketing

Tim Calkins, Professor of Marketing

Tim is a clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management where he teaches marketing strategy, biomedical marketing and strategic marketing decisions in the full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs. He is co-academic director of Kellogg's branding program.


Music for this episode come from MADS Creative Commons Album