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"What's notable about this year versus others is that advertisers played it safe. As a result, we saw fewer standouts, but we also didn't see as many costly mistakes," said Clinical Professor of Marketing Tim Calkins (second from left), who leads the Review.

M&M’S tops the 2012 Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review

M&M’S tops the 2012 Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review

Student panel finds advertisers stayed in bounds this year


2/6/2012 - M&M’S earned top marks for its playful “It’s That Kind of Party” ad, winning the eighth annual Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review. Other top-ranked advertisers for 2012 include Skechers and Dannon, while Go Daddy, Cadillac and Hulu ranked at the bottom of the perennial Review.


“The M&M’S commercial introduced Ms. Brown, a new character, and kept in line with the brand’s equity,” said Clinical Professor of Marketing Tim Calkins, who leads the event with a panel of students from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “At Kellogg, our Review evaluates the ads based on strategic execution and the potential to build brands, and M&M’S did this well.”

“What’s notable about this year versus others is that advertisers played it safe. As a result, we saw fewer standouts, but we also didn’t see as many costly mistakes,” continued Calkins.

GE and Toyota were among other brands that joined Go Daddy, Cadillac and Hulu at the bottom of the Review.

“There were a number of suggestive ads this year from brands like Fiat, H&M and Teleflora,” said Associate Professor of Marketing Derek D. Rucker, who also leads the Review. “We’ve come to expect it from Go Daddy, but this year there definitely seemed to be more skin in the game.”

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.

“Overall, there were not many superstars but all the brands avoided big fumbles. Unlike last year’s controversial Groupon and HomeAway spots, advertisers steered clear of controversy,” added Chris Reynolds, one of 44 Kellogg MBA students who participated on the Ad Review panel.

Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review
2012 Rankings by Grade

M&M’S             A
Skechers          A
Dannon            A
Honda             A
Doritos           B
E*TRADE           B
Fiat              B
Chevy             B
Kia               B
Samsung           B
Chrysler          B
CareerBuilder     B
Volkswagen        C
Bridgestone       C
Pepsi             C
Teleflora         C
Audi              C
Budweiser         C
TaxACT            C
Best Buy          C
Chase             C
Acura             C
H&M               C
NFL               C
Coca-Cola         C
Hyundai           C
MetLife           C
Lexus             D
Century 21        D
GE                D
Cars.com          D
Toyota            D
Cadillac          D
Hulu              D
Go Daddy          D