News & Events

Super Sunday Means Ads, Ads, Ads for Some

by Elaine Fabian

Students in the Tippie College of Business' School of Management circled three television sets featuring the Super Bowl on Sunday night with the usual array of food and fun. The only difference was that the focus of the party wasn't the game--it was the commercials.

Approximately 20 UI graduate marketing students gathered at a fellow student's home to vote for the best and worst commercials for business and entertainment value. Baba Shiv, an associate professor of marketing, will use the survey results to help him consult with companies about their advertisements.

"The ads cost approximately $2.5 million each," said Stephen Clark, the president of the Graduate Marketing Association. "We are trying to decide if the cost is justified."

Early in the first half, there was nearly unanimous support for the Diet Pepsi commercial featuring P. Diddy and Carson Daly driving "pimped out" Diet Pepsi trucks as their new rides. The students said it appealed to the younger generation.

The first- and second-year M.B.A. students ultimately decided that Anheuser-Busch ran the best ads, which depicted U.S. troops receiving applause during their arrival at an airport.

"The biggest surprise was the number of votes for Anheuser-Busch, because usually the most popular ads are entertaining and funny," Shiv said. "I think it shows that there is a lot of sentiment out there for the troops, and this commercial hit the right spot."

Another commercial that stood out in the final votes was an Ameriquest ad that showed a man preparing a red sauce for the dinner he was preparing. The cat spills the sauce on the kitchen floor and the man, who was cutting something on the counter, grabs the feline. The man's girlfriend walks in to see him holding it over a blood-like puddle of sauce. Then comes the message: "Don't make decisions too quickly."

"I voted for Ameriquest as the best commercial for business because it got in touch with the problems that its customers are having," said Scott Lewis, a second-year M.B.A. student. "It focused on the fact that people are being rated by their numbers."

MBNA produced the worst ad, a credit-card commercial involving a rugby game, the students decided.

One commercial that drew controversy among the group was by Go Daddy, a company that regulates Internet domains. The commercial played off of last year's Super Bowl scandal with Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. A woman is testifying during a trial when she experiences the same problem that Jackson had.

"I'm not gonna go to the website, but if its target audience was men, they're sold," said Jane Merten, first-year M.B.A. student.

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