UA professor breaks down Super Bowl commercial hits and misses

Published: Feb. 5, 2017 at 10:45 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:16 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's more than the biggest football game of the year.

The Super Bowl is also a cutthroat competition for advertisers.

Millions of dollars have been invested to get viewers' attention and ultimately convince them to spend money on a company's service or product.

With an estimated 100 million people glued to the TV screen, it's an opportunity to reach a huge audience at one place at one time.

"I would say it's the single most important event and day in advertising without a doubt," said University of Arizona Assistant Marketing Professor Caleb Warren. "Not only are a lot of people watching, but a lot of people watching for the ads, so you have a level of attention and involvement from a really large audience that just doesn't happen, to my knowledge, any other time of the year or place in the U.S. at least."

From politics, to humor, to celebrity endorsements, there was a wide range of how advertisers fought to be memorable and liked.

Warren has spent years studying advertising strategies and effectiveness.

He ranked Budweiser's immigration ad as the most interesting. He believes it has the best potential for stirring up controversy. It shows a young Adolphus Busch and his struggles of immigrating to America.

"This ad is incredibly interesting, because it offers a story that I think a lot of their target market are not necessarily going to be comfortable with," he said. "It's arguing that America is a country of immigrants This is already a topic that's at the center of the nation's attention."

Warren ranked the Kia ad starring celebrity comedian Melissa McCarthy as one of the least effective commercials shown during Super Bowl 2017.

McCarthy is seen helping the environment, but getting hurt in the process.

"I don't think the problem with the ad is Melissa McCarthy. I think the problem with the ad is the way it tried to create humor and also the lack of link between the funny parts of the ad and the product," Warren said. "I think the ad will be memorable, but I don't think the brand will be."

Bottom line, "it doesn't matter if consumers remember the commercial, but they do need to remember the brand," he said.

He stressed there's more potential for buying power if viewers think of the brand in a positive way.

That puts pressure on making sure attempts at humor are not offensive.

Miss any of the Super Bowl commercials mentioned? Watch here.

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