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Kellogg Profs: Why We Make Our MBAs Watch Super Bowl Ads (and Tune Out the Game)

Kia's 2014 Super Bowl commercial
Kia's 2014 Super Bowl commercialPhotograph by Kia via AP Photo

As the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks take the field this Sunday, more than 50 MBA students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management will watch the game together. Their focus won’t be on who’s winning the Super Bowl; as marketing professors, we’ve asked them to judge which company has the best advertising game.

This isn’t your typical dips ‘n wings Super Bowl party. Students will sit at tables, armed with score sheets. They’ll be silent during the commercials and only tune out, chat, and relax when the teams are playing. There will soda, but no booze.