Superbowl Ads: An Anecdotal Experiment

It’s been weeks since I last blogged about the Superbowl.  In an effort not to taint my research, I haven’t read my last blog entry.  These are the ads I still remember (unaided recall):

  • Biggest impression and first ad that comes to mind: the Doritos finger sucking ad.  The guy licking Doritos cheesy residue off his co-worker was so visceral that it’s the first ad I remember every time someone says Superbowl.  So by my definition, Doritos had the best ad. Congrats to Frito-Lay & PepsiCo.
  • Eminem Brisk: disclosure being I’m working for Unilever this summer as a brand intern and Lipton Brisk is owned by Unilever, so it naturally makes sense that it’s the second ad that comes to mind.
  • I like the Coca-Cola border crossing ad, where two guys temporarily redrew country border to share the Coke experience.  I’ve been a loyal Coke drinker since childhood.
  • Adrian Brody with Stella Artois: there weren’t too many ads geared at women, so easy one to remember
  • Audi’s ad about rich people and “hit ‘em with Kenny G.”  Hilarious.  Innovative.
  • By association with Eninem, the Detroit ad.  I believe it was about the city and not any specific car company, but for some reason, I associate the ad with Chrysler.
  • There was a pretty cool ad, where a car gets abducted by spies, then god of the sea, then aliens.  I thought was a really nice brand but ended up being a Korean car company?  The problem with that ad is that it’s visually memorable, but to me, the brand wasn’t.  Hence, its fatal flaw.  Of course, other people may have remembered the brand, but I don’t.

That’s about it.  Of all the ads that played during the Superbowl, these companies are successful in my mind because they created an impression that I could remember, if prompted.  My biggest question is whether that influenced my buying decision.

During the last few weeks, I haven’t changed my buying pattern to purchase Brisk, Stelle Artois, and certainly, not any cars.  Especially with a big purchase like an automobile, I’m unlikely to change my perception because of ads on TV.  In terms of Coca-Cola, I did a blind taste test in my brand class and have actually bought less Coke. Not only have I realized that I can’t tell the difference, but Coke Zero costs 40% more than the HEB brand, and Pepsi is more readily available in the vending machines at McCombs.  So I’ve changed my buying habits and am less likely to go out of my way to purchase Coke products.  Lastly, I’m not usually a chip purchaser, and the only reason I’ve eat more bags of Doritos than usual (2 more individual size packs to be exact) is because it was part of the packed dinner provided by Hertz during a campus visit.

So in my own opinion, Superbowl ads are interesting, general buzz, and may help with brand equity, but at the end of the day, I’m not any more likely to purchase a product because of ads during the Superbowl.  At most, it reaffirms my brand loyalty to products and services I already use.  At worst, I don’t remember what brand that one car commercial was supporting.

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