Super Bowl LIV: Which Ads Were Touchdowns And Which Were Fumbles?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Belk College experts break down the best and worst commercials

The Super Bowl may be the only time of the year when people actually want to watch commercials. For some, it may be the only reason they tune into the game. In honor of this attention, the Belk College of Business called upon two expert refs to break it down: 
Dr. Jennifer Ames Stuart and Professor Tamara Cohen

According to Stuart, “We typically measure impact in terms of what is known as 'brand linkage.' This is a measure commonly used in marketing research that assesses the ad's ability to connect the appeal of the ad to a specific brand (versus to the category or simply missing a linkage at all).”

From that scale, Stuart classifies the Hyundai commercial as a touchdown. “FINALLY! A really good commercial! Really funny, with celebrities to make it memorable, and most importantly, it actually gives a compelling reason – beautifully demonstrated – why one might want to buy a Hyundai.”



Cohen’s favorites included T-Mobile’s Tell Your Mama and P&G’s “When We Come Together.”  She explains that a simple message + fun delivery = an effective ad. Likewise, Cohen ranked the TurboTax commercial high as well, noting “anything that makes doing taxes fun deserves a cheer.” 




Both agreed the Snickers commercial was a fumble. Stuart says: “I have no idea what burying a Snickers in the ground has anything to do with."




Overall, Cohen says the ads seemed to feature social issues and corporate social responsibility, including the WeatherTech and Budweiser commercials. While Stuart says she believes “so many of them seemed to be nothing more than extremely expensive and fancy billboarding: They seldom said much about the product itself, or its benefits, choosing instead to hope that simple entertainment value would make the brand name stick.” 

What is your breakdown? Tag @UNCCbelkcollege on Twitter to let us know.

Dr. Jennifer Ames Stuart joined the Belk College marketing faculty in 2013. Her research focuses on understanding the psychology of consumer decision making.  Previously, she served as Director of Marketing for Bayer Healthcare, developing an ad in Superbowl XL.

Tamara Cohen teaches undergraduate students in the Belk College. Her areas of interest stem from her career experience in the fields of global marketing, and multinational management, consulting and entrepreneurship.