For the past nine years, Northwestern Kellogg has hosted a Super Bowl Advertising Review that requires MBA students to assess commercial spots during the big game.
By Jeff Schmitt
In 1967, the first Super Bowl tickets sold for $12. Now, they cost $2,000. In Super Bowl I, the winning Packers took home $15,000 a piece. Now, winning players earn $88,000. Back then, marching bands, not Bruno Mars, served as halftime entertainment. And advertising? Well, a Super Bowl spot in 1970 cost $42,000. Now, companies pony up $4 million dollars for just 30 seconds.
For advertisers, the Super Bowl is a high-stakes competition, with top brands jockeying for mindshare and publicity. That’s why this Sunday’s event — to be viewed by nearly 110 million people — provides the perfect vehicle to study advertising. At the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, they’ve turned evaluating Super Bowl ads into a science.
For the past nine years, Kellogg has hosted a Super Bowl Advertising Review that requires MBA students to assess commercial spots against a six-point strategic framework that emphasizes brand building, value propositions, and motivating purchases over flash and entertainment. Launched in 2005 by marketing professor Tim Calkins, the exercise gets MBA candidates to think like advertising decision makers.
“The Super Bowl event is unique because our focus is on the effectiveness of all this advertising,” says Calkins. “So we’re less concerned about creativity and humor on its own…. Our focus is always on efficacy and trying to think, ‘is this ultimately going to have a positive impact on business?'”
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