Sunday’s Super Bowl spectators aren’t just talking about the intense game, Beyonce’s halftime performance or the power outage, they’re also talking about the commercials. Advertisements played during the Super Bowl always make headlines and Twitter hashtags, and Scott Hamula, professor and chairperson of Strategic Communication, is an expert at analyzing why viewers like what they like, and what to expect from Super Bowl ads.
Contributing writer Lindsey Witmer spoke to Hamula about the successes and failures of this year’s ads.
Lindsey Witmer: How were the ads this year similar to or different from previous years’ commercials?
Scott Hamula: They were fairly similar to last year’s, but maybe a bit more entertaining. Some ads did a good job of combining a way to sell the ad all while providing good entertainment.
LW: Which of the ads do you think did a good job of providing both the selling and entertainment factors?
SH: The Oreo ad. Oreo was great because it was all about the cookie, and you knew that from the beginning. It was a fight between the cream and the cookie, so you knew from the very beginning what it was about, and for which product. Whereas the Taco Bell ad, you only saw the logo for the last five seconds and up until that point it was hard to tell which brand it was trying to sell. The Super Bowl is more for entertaining, so you do not typically have to do a lot of selling, but ads like the Audi and Mercedes Benz ones did a good job of doing both.
LW: In your opinion, which were the most entertaining ads?
SH: To me the farmer ad for the Dodge Ram trucks and the military ad sponsored by Jeep. The Dodge truck ads really captured many people’s attention, and the photography was well done. With the military ad, it really pulled a lot of heart strings, but it was hard for me to remember who made the military ad. So I know Jeep did not do a good job selling the brand.
LW: In your opinion, which types of commercials usually sell the best, or what do most viewers want to see?
SH: I think the people usually prefer the ones that make them laugh. You’ll notice that most ads in general are humorous. While the touching ones, like the Budweiser commercial, are definitely good, the funny ones are usually the ones people tend to remember.
LW: What is the average cost of these Super Bowl ads, and are they worth spending that much money on?
SH: I would say the average cost is about $3.8 million. It was definitely worth the money for this year. The ratings just came up and almost 111 million people watched.
LW: So, out of all of these commercials, which one was your personal favorite?
SH: I liked the Oreo one a lot. That was my favorite. It was funny, and it was selling.
LW: What about your least favorite ad?
SH: The GoDaddy one with Bar Refaeli. It was painful and the sound effects really added to the negativity.