Impact of Super Bowl ads large

2012-02-06T07:00:00Z 2012-02-06T21:25:01Z Impact of Super Bowl ads largeBy Dan Craft | dcraft@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com
February 06, 2012 7:00 am  • 

It’s the morning after Super Bowl XLVI, but the play you remember is Seinfeld’s offensive moves to snare the first Acura off the showroom floor.

Even if it means hauling out old nemesis the Soup Nazi as bait.

Then again, maybe you’re at the office cooler doing the play-by-play for Episode II of Volkswagen’s uber-popular “Star Wars” campaign, “The Dog Strikes Back.” 

“Are you kidding? The dog is funnier than the Vader kid!”

Whatever the favorite catch-phrase, it’s further evidence that Madison Avenue is the Bowl’s true MVP these days, say two local professors with more than a passing in interest in the subject.

Concocting Super Bowl spots so memorable that they’ll be talked about 24 hours later, and with the same passion as the game, isn’t a new concept.

But the modes of delivery and the shelf life have evolved in recent years, largely via the social networking phenomenon.

If nothing else, the mega-bucks invested by advertisers — $3.5 million per 30 seconds — are worth it for the audience size alone, said David Wallace, an assistant professor of business administration at Illinois Wesleyan University.

“Really there’s not another time of the year when there are that many people are in front of the TV at once — so it’s worthwhile, if only for that purpose,” he added.

The prime exposure is especially meaningful for companies trying to introduce a new product line or revamp an image/message.

“You definitely get more bang for your buck if you’ve something new to get people talking about. One of the key things about the ads is that they’ve become part of the culture of the Super Bowl,” Wallace said.

Rajeev Goel, professor of economics at Illinois State University, adds that “it’s not only the advertising itself, but all the related attention that follows — like discussing which is the best (ad) and which is the worst.”

But, he wonders, “with the growth of social media in the last three to four years, I wonder how much time is being devoted to paying attention to the ads, since they can always find these on their smart phone or other device.”

On the one hand, said Goel, “the ads have a very longer life, but on the other it could mean the immediate impact of the ads is being diluted.”

Added Wallace: “I do think they’ll become even more interactive, since more and more people are using more than one device while watching the game, whether it’s a laptop or tablet, or whether you’re blogging or tweeting or interacting through other social media with friends.”

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