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Marketing Students Analyze Super Bowl Commercials

While the Super Bowl meant downing beer and chips for many football fans, some University of Iowa students used it as a learning experience.

The UI's Graduate Marketing Association has thrown a Super Bowl party each year since 2010, allowing Tippie College of Business MBA students to rate the game's advertisements, analyzing each companies' marketing techniques.

"[Rating the commercials] definitely supplements some of the things students learn in the classroom in a fun environment," said Sara Mouw, the president of the group. "[Students] rate the overall ad, rank in categories, and rate whether or not people would buy the product."

The ranking system was set up on a scale of 1 to 10 in categories of overall rating and likeliness to purchase.

According to MSNBC and the Associated Press, the average cost for a commercial during this year's Super Bowl was $3.5 million, a $500,000 increase over last year and the highest Super Bowl advertising cost on record.

Advertising during the first Super Bowl in 1967 cost only $42,000 for a 30-second advertisement, according to Time.

When a commercial with an M&M dancing to a popular LMFAO song came on, the crowd burst into laughter.

Most MBA students said spreading an advertisement to such a big audience more than made up for the hefty cost of placement, especially in the case of "big" companies such as Coca-Cola and Dodge.

"If you use [the money] well, it's money well spent," said MBA student Eric Talmage, the vice president of finance for the marketing association. "You have to have a really good commercial and the ability to have a commercial every year."

MBA student Philip Dehghan agreed.

"From a business perspective, it's reasonable," he said.

MBA student Alexander Khaykin also said the demand for a company's product alongside its financial success allows it to spend extensive money on a commercial.

"The demand always creates the supply," he said.

Many said the key element to a great commercial is the ability to make its audience laugh.

Some students were attracted to learning about that balance between cost of production and money earned.

"I find [the commercials] fascinating," said MBA student Stephen Butler, "just knowing what they produce versus the cost."

Marketing-association executives said having students rank the commercials aids their education.

"[The goal is for students to] focus on the commercials and get students to think about what worked and what didn't work," Talmage said.

Students said they also enjoyed the event for being an engaging way to learn more about marketing and advertising.

"I like the fact that we get to talk about ads and that we can talk to people that are knowledgeable [in marketing and advertising]," said MBA student Stephanie Tang.


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