Photo © Nathan Mandell  

Kellogg School of Management Faculty and MBA Students Rank Toyota Prius Best; Pepsi Second in Super Bowl Advertising Review

EVANSTON, Ill., (February 7, 2005) – The New England Patriots may have won Super Bowl XXXIX, but Toyota Prius scored highest with the students and faculty at the world’s No. 1 business school, according to the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review panel.

“As always, the Super Bowl featured a mixed bag of advertising,” said Kellogg School of Management Clinical Associate Professor Tim Calkins, who spearheaded the Review. “There were some clear winners this year and also some big misses.”

As major corporations and lesser-known startups agreed to pay an average of $2.4 million for a 30-second chance to debut innovative commercials in front of America’s largest audience, marketing faculty and MBA students from the Kellogg School Marketing Club convened at the Kellogg School to watch the event, rate the advertisements on a series of predetermined criteria and produce a final ranking of the most – and least – successful advertisers from this year’s Super Bowl.

  students watching Superbowl ads
  Students watching ads between Superbowl plays © Nathan Mandel

The Kellogg School Review panel awarded a grade of “A” to five advertisers, listed alphabetically: Emerald Nuts, MasterCard, Pepsi (Pepsi and Diet Pepsi), Tabasco and Toyota Prius. Toyota was the highest ranked advertiser, followed by Pepsi. The panel thought the Pepsi and iTunes promotion was particularly effective. “All these advertisers produced spots that broke through creatively, were well branded and communicated a clear benefit,” said Calkins.

The Kellogg School Review panel awarded a grade of “B” to five advertisers: Bud Light,, FedEx, Novartis Ciba Vision and Olympus. “While the single strongest ad in this year’s Super Bowl was Bud Light’s “Parachuting” spot, the other Bud Light spots were not as strong,” stated Calkins.

The lowest ranked advertisers were Bubblicious, Silestone, Degree deodorant, and MBNA. The panel had significant concerns about each of these advertising efforts. They thought Silestone, MBNA and Bubblicious were poorly branded, and Degree did not deliver a benefit linked to the product. Many members of the panel were not sure what was selling.

The panel ranked each advertiser based on the following criteria: breakthrough, branding, persuasiveness and likeability.

Students taking notes on and ranking the commercials © Nathan Mandell


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