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News & Events

Marketing professors Tim Calkins and Derek Rucker discuss Super Bowl ads with marketing students at the 2011 Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review.

Super Bowl Advertising Review

Volkswagen tops 2011 Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review; Lipton Brisk Iced Tea runs cold

Student panel finds social media, auto ads drive this year’s lineup

2/6/2011 - Volkswagen earned top marks for its “Beetle” and “Star Wars” ads, winning the seventh annual Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review. Other top-ranked advertisers for 2011 included Chrysler and Doritos, while Lipton Brisk, HomeAway and Hyundai ranked at the bottom of the much-anticipated Review.

“This was definitely the year of the auto and it was reflected with the panel’s top two advertisers being automakers — Volkswagen and Chrysler,” said Clinical Professor of Marketing Tim Calkins, who leads the event with a panel of Kellogg School students. “At Kellogg, our Review evaluates the ads based on strategic execution and the potential to build brands.”

Armed with that strategic framework in mind, Kellogg MBA students gave the top ranking to Volkswagen because it drove home its strong branding with clever creative. Volkswagen edged out fellow “A” grade advertisers Chrysler, Doritos, E-Trade, Mini Cooper and Bridgestone.

GoDaddy and Kia joined Lipton Brisk, HomeAway and Hyundai at the bottom of the Review.

“The Super Bowl is the biggest live event for reaching the widest audience of consumers,” said Associate Professor of Marketing Derek D. Rucker, who also leads the Review. “Some advertisers, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Bud Light integrated social media campaigns to extend their $3 million investments beyond a 30-second spot. However, while their campaigns were robust, the Super Bowl spots ranked in the middle of our results.”

Unlike other popularity-based reviews, the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review uses a strategic academic framework known as ADPLAN. The acronym, developed by Kellogg School faculty, instructs viewers to grade ads based on Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net equity.

About the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University was founded in 1908 and is widely regarded as a global leader in management education. The school, with locations in Evanston, Ill., Chicago and Miami, is home to a renowned, research-based faculty and MBA students from around the globe. The Kellogg School’s academic portfolio includes the Full-Time, Part-Time and Executive MBA Programs, the Ph.D. Program, and the non-degree Executive Education Program. The school offers two joint-degree programs: the JD-MBA and the MMM (MBA-MEM). Additionally, the Kellogg School of Management has alliances with business schools in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Canada.

To learn more about the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review, visit