Super Bowl

Super Bowl 50 Advertising: Pre-Game Outlook

4 Feb 2016  

This will be a big year for Super Bowl advertising. There are more than forty companies trying to break through the clutter. Each one is paying about $5 million for a thirty-second spot.

Here are things to consider as you watch this year’s Super Bowl:

1.Will the ad drive the business and build the brand?

This is the most important question for marketers. Ultimately, a Super Bowl ad is a business investment. At the Kellogg School of Management, we use a six-part framework called ADPLAN to evaluate advertising.

Attention: Does the ad stand out? Do you notice it?

Distinction: Is it different and unique? Or does it blend in with all the other spots?

Positioning: Does the ad communicate a benefit?

Linkage: Is there a connection between the creative idea and the brand?

Amplification: What will people remember? Is that a positive for the brand?

Net Equity: Is the ad consistent with the brand image?

2.Do the auto ads all blend together?

There are a lot of car brands on the Super Bowl this year. That is a challenge. With so many, they all run the risk of not standing out.

Watch for Fiat-Chrysler. For the past several years, the company has kept its plans quiet and then run surprising, impactful ads on the Super Bowl for brands including Jeep, Ram, and Chrysler. This year, we’ve again heard nothing from Fiat-Chrysler before the game. So the question remains: what will they do this year?

3.What will AB InBev do?

With brands including Budweiser and Bud Light, the biggest advertiser on the Super Bowl is AB InBev. What will it run? Will it bring back the loved but somewhat ineffective Clydesdales for Budweiser? Will the company attack wine? Will it go after craft beer, as it did last year?

4.How will the financial ads go over?

This year we will see a remarkable number of financial brands on the Super Bowl: Pay Pal, Sofi, Sun Trust, Quicken and more. Will these ads resonate? Will they confuse people? The Super Bowl is a fairly light environment, and finance is a serious topic. It might be an awkward pairing.

5.Will Death Wish soar?

Death Wish Coffee won the QuickBooks Small Business-Big Game contest. The brand will run a fairly dramatic spot. Will this propel the brand forward? Or will Death Wish stand-out and then vanish?

Most important, remember that behind every spot is a team of people trying very hard to excel. Nobody takes a Super Bowl spot for granted. Marketers and agencies know that careers are on the line.

Upcoming Events

You can learn about the Kellogg Super Bowl rankings at several events next week:

Kellogg Club of Chicago Event: Tuesday, February 9 at 5:30 CST. Sign up here.

Harvard Business School Club of Chicago Event: Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 AM CST. Sign up here.

Webinar: Tuesday, February 9 at noon CST. Sign up here.


Enjoy the game and the advertising.

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