Super Bowl

The Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review Returns

9 Feb 2022  

The Super Bowl is just days away, and once again a panel of Kellogg students will be evaluating all the spots in the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review. This is the 18th year of the event. I’ll be teaming up with my colleague Professor Derek Rucker again this year.

The Start

We started this event in 2005 with a small panel. The goal was simple: to give students experience evaluating advertising by studying all the Super Bowl ads.

We didn’t know what to expect the first year. Would the student scores prove to be on track? Would we get any PR coverage? That wasn’t and isn’t the main point, but we wondered about it.

The event was a success from the start. It was terrific experiential learning, the panel’s analysis was excellent and we all had great fun.

The Event Today

Over the years the Kellogg ad review has changed and grown.

  • It is bigger. Our student panel is up to about 70 students. We have a bigger space and better food.
  • The technology is different. We started the event using paper scoring slips. It was a blur of paper as we distributed and gathered hundreds of pieces of paper over the course of the evening. The tabulation challenge was considerable. Today we use a phone-based system to quickly capture all the scores.
  • We’ve added events. The program has grown from an evening evaluating Super Bowl ads to two-week series of different events. There is a student pre-game program and a Northwestern alumni program. After the Super Bowl Derek and I will be hosting a webinar and LinkedIn live discussion (more on those below). We are doing programs for the Kellogg Alumni Club, the Harvard Alumni Club, and other organizations.
  • Our participants are now making the ads. Kellogg produces some of the top marketing leaders in the world, so it was just a matter of time until students who were on the panel assumed leadership roles where they are responsible for the creative.

Ultimately, that is the goal: we train and inspire marketing leaders, and they go on to have an impact in the world.

Super Bowl 51

This will be a remarkable year for advertising on the Super Bowl. It will be the biggest year ever.

This will be the year for Crypto and EVs. There will be a host of new crypto advertisers. The EV advertisers will be familiar names, with a common message: the companies are now completely focused on winning in the EV space.

Travel is back! With the pandemic (hopefully!) winding down, travel firms like Turkish Airlines and are advertising. This seems like a smart idea: my sense is people are ready to hit the road this summer.

Look for the big technology firms to return this year with huge spending. Amazon will once again run a big budget and highly entertaining spot. Google and Meta will be advertising as well. Look for Google to once again try to tap into emotions.

Familiar characters will be back! The Super Bowl will feature E Trade Baby, Terry Tate and the Clydesdales.

Here are a few things to watch for as you watch the game:

  • Pandemic: How do advertisers address the pandemic? Will there be any reference to it at all?
  • Politics: There is no shortage of opportunity here for some highly entertaining spots but I suspect advertisers will stay far away from divisive political topics.
  • Tik Tok and NFTs: How do advertisers take advantage of these emerging platforms?

It promises to be a big game. Read on to see how you can be part of the review.

Join the Action

There are three ways to be part of the Kellogg Ad Review and hear what the panel thought of the spots.

– Social Media: Post your thoughts on Twitter and LinkedIn! Use #KelloggBowl. I’ll be tweeting throughout the game, as well as before and after.

– Webinar: Derek Rucker and I will be reviewing the results at a webinar on Wednesday, February 16 from 12 – 1 CST. You can sign up for this free event here.

– LinkedIn Live: On Monday, February 14, we will be live on LinkedIn at 12:30 CST. Visit the Northwestern University – Kellogg School LinkedIn site to watch it.

As always, you can see my post and comment here on the blog.

Join the conversation