When It Comes To Super Bowl Ads, Students Probably Carry More Weight Than I Do

David Kiley

I thought it was a weak year for Super Bowl ads. In my post-game story on Businessweek.com, I name the Grand Brand Super Bowl ad--Anheuser-Busch's salute to the U.S. armed forces. I applied a very scientific process to arrive at the winner. My wife, three-year old son and pet mouse, Stuart, watched the game and the ads. And I decided the winner.

I was interested to see today that a group of 50 students from USC opted for my runner-up, a Bud Light ad in which a parachutist won't go out the door even after the sky-diving leader throws a box of Bud Light out the door. The pilot, not wearing a chute, jumps out after it. A separate student group, The Kellogg School of Management, awarded a grade of “A” to five advertisers: Emerald Nuts, MasterCard, Pepsi (Pepsi and Diet Pepsi), Tabasco and Toyota Prius. Toyota was the highest ranked advertiser, followed by Pepsi. The panel thought the Pepsi and iTunes promotion was particularly effective.

Interesting, neither of these two student groups thought much of the the ad saluting the troops. In truth, I though the ad for the Prius--in which the gas-electric hybrid car was juxtaposed against cars, trains and even people whose wheels and legs were moving but they weren't getting anywhere--might have made my Honorable Mention list had I not arbitrarily cut off my list at five.

One thing I am sure of, though...when advertisers tally up the buzz from the post game ad analysis, and assign importance to results, two groups of twentysomething students in LA and Chicago will trump this 41-year old bloviating blogger from New Jersey. Perhaps the Pepsi iTunes spots would have resonated with me more if I could overcome my technophobia and graduate from CDs to the MP3 world.

On the other hand, the big AOL survey, which is more demographically diverse than the student studies, also chose the tribute to the troops as the best ad, with 15% of respondents voting it best ad of the evening. Maybe I'm not such a bad bloviator after all.

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