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Dean Blount's Blog

Touchdown: Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review
February 6, 2011

  Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review
  Photography by Nathan Mandell
It’s been an action-packed Sunday—a day of contrasts. I started out the day giving a morning lecture on the business model for sustainability at the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago. Tonight I’ve just come from the nerve center of the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review. It takes place in a large, flat classroom over at the Allen Center. The room is filled with eight tables of five students each, all focused on two large screens. There’s plenty of noise and a lot talk in the room—except during the ad breaks when the room goes silent and every eye is laser-focused on the screens.

It’s great fun to move around during the game and talk to different students about the experience. I found only one Packers fan among all of the students and no Steelers fans, so there wasn’t much game talk. But I did hear a lot of critiques about the purpose and impact of the different ads. We all agreed that we’re much more focused on the ad content than when watching the Super Bowl with friends.

I love the students’ energy and intensity as they debate the different ads after the voting is over. Tim Calkins and Derek Rucker, our two marketing professors who oversee this initiative, do a great job setting up the event, and are on the phones at half-time with the major news outlets commenting on the observations of our panel.

I have to admit that one of my favorites was the VW Passat ad with the little boy dressed up as Darth Vader. There was a simplicity to the story and an emotional resonance for me, as I remembered back to when my own children dressed up in capes and wandered through the house trying to do magic.

I also really liked the Doritos finger-licking ad—it was so spot-on with the messy experience of eating Doritos. I can’t wait to see how all of the ads will be ranked by the Review panel using the Kellogg ADPLAN framework.

I have to say that this has been one of the best Super Bowl watching experiences that I’ve ever had, and so very Kellogg in nature. I’m definitely doing it again next year!

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at

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