The Art of the Super Bowl Ad

Read reviews and join the conversation on Twitter

2016 Superbowl Tweet Banner

During this Sunday's Super Bowl, advertising professors and students from The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication will live tweet critiques of Super Bowl advertisements starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations social media team TexasAdGrad will share their thoughts on Twitter under hashtag #AdGradBowl for the group's third-annual AdGradBowl. They will be joined by Professor Gary Wilcox (@garybwilcox) and students in his “Social Media” class and other faculty members from the Richards School.

The group will assess ads on qualities such as the presence of a strong emotional hook, relevance to the brand's position, and the likelihood that a viewer would ask friends to view the ad and would want to see it again. According to CBS network president Leslie Moonves, ads are reportedly being sold as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot this year, setting new records from the base price of $4.5 million that NBC charged advertisers only a year ago.

“All the brands and ad agencies will be monitoring social media interaction and response just like we’ll be doing,” said Gary Wilcox, professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. “This prepares our students for work in the field of advertising by actively assessing the situations that evolve and what responses are evoked.”

An estimated 120 million viewers will tune into Super Bowl 50 on CBS, pitting the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos. AdGradBowl participants will use social media tracking tool NUVI to analyze posts, locations of interactions, audience feedback, demographics, spikes in traffic and other social media listening metrics to record responses to ads throughout the evening.

NUVI Social Media Listening Software
Faculty and students will track ad results using real-time data visualizations from NUVI social
media listening software.

The group will also monitor responses from brands, advertising agencies and influential media critics, drawing from experiences in advertising, marketing, traditional media, social media, online media and messaging.

Here, faculty members offer commentary and review some of the ads that companies promoted before the Super Bowl: Client: Mini USA (BMW owned)
Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners
Media Placement: 30 second spot, 3rd Quarter
Reviewed by Professor Angeline Close Scheinbaum (@angelineclose)

“No one can define you. Only you can define you.”

I chose the Mini “Defy Labels” campaign for us to think about for two reasons. For one, my campaigns class did our campaign project for Mini with assistance from the Collegiate Effie Competition and our students really enjoyed doing consumer research and crafting strategy for their integrated brand promotion.  Two, the campaign featuring icons who have risen to success in part because they have overcome labels has a substantive emotional component often missing in automobile integrated brand promotion efforts.

The premise of this campaign is that Mini, as a brand, defies labels. In fact, their website notes they have been “defiant since 1959”. Mini is a car brand that doesn’t try to be like any other car brand; there is an air of authenticity to the brand. Our campaign’s student research verified this notion while uncovering a theme of fun as well. There is something refreshing about being authentic and fun—two words I have never uncovered with other automobile clients/partners over the years.

The campaign includes videos of icons who have defied labels. There is congruity of celebrity endorsers such as Randy Johnson (baseball), Abby Wambach (soccer), Michai Stephens (motorsports), Tony Hawk (skateboarding) and Serena Williams (tennis). Of these, my favorite is their ad teaser by one of my heroes Serena Williams.  I see her as one of the greatest athletes of our country and a woman who has been subject to a lot of labels (not to mention body shaming because she is muscular and strong in a world of tennis where the athletes tend to have a less muscular body type). In her own words:

“I’ve had to deal with a lot of labels. Too strong. Too sexy. Too focused on tennis. Mean...Getting past those labels for me was pretty much really easy because I define myself. It always motivates me to be the best that I can be and to just go out there and do nothing less than to win.” (Serena Williams)

She is right. She, like the Mini brand, has had to deal with a lot of judgment and labels. She, and the brand, has overcome them somehow to their advantage. I admire her mainly because she is a winner who (along with her sister) has brought diversity and inspiration to kids across America while defying the label of tennis as a rich white person’s sport.  Her ability to rise above is congruent with the theme of the “Defy Labels” campaign. The brand knows they are not the mainstream auto brand and that their drivers fall in some quirky stereotypes (Abby Wambach brought up “chick car” and “slow” in reference to the brand). Still, the brand refreshingly exposes its consumer-generated labels and empowers in an authentic, unique, and lovingly-quirky way.

Client: Proctor and Gamble
Agency: Y&R Peru
Media Placement: 30 second spot, 4th Quarter
Reviewed by Professor Neal Burns (@berryboy316)

For some time now Americans have expressed their interest and—at times—support for major corporations and brands who do more for society than sell product.

Those famous names have a clearly expressed recognition of the need to support society. Thinking of a brand as a social or community institution is reflected in several recent cases.

The “Like A Girl” campaign last year from Proctor and Gamble was stunning in terms of its societal impact.  This year, the Colgate Super Bowl 50 television ad knocks it out of the park and in the process clearly illustrates the good that advertising can do.

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer