Kellogg’s Super Bowl Ad Review: Which commercials rose above the crowd?
By Claire Yao (2Y, 2023)
In a world that is constantly throwing advertisements at you, the Super Bowl is a time when I actually welcome watching ads in their entirety. I knew I wanted to participate in the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review as soon as I submitted my acceptance to Kellogg. This year, I was able to not only watch the ads, but also have conversations with over 70 participating students who were equally focused on the commercial breaks.
The Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review is a tradition now in its 18th year, hosted by professors Tim Calkins and Derek Rucker in collaboration with the Kellogg Marketing Club. This year we were very lucky to be back in person with all eyes on the big screen together. Leading up to the event, we collectively learned from Professor Rucker and Professor Calkins about best practices in applying the ADPLAN framework when reviewing ad campaigns. This framework helps to standardize our rankings, and really helped me to put into perspective what different attributes make an ad successful.
On the day of the event, the White Auditorium truly did have a Super Bowl buzz, with plenty of snack foods and the game projected on a giant screen. As kickoff started, everyone was still immersed in their conversations. However, as the first commercial break began, the entire auditorium was filled with shushing as everyone directed their focus to the screen. During the commercials, I found myself looking for much more than just entertainment. With a focus on the ADPLAN framework, I found that I was much more actively engaged in critiquing each ad in succession.
The collective laughs during humorous ads and simultaneous winces during ads that didn’t hit the mark really added to the atmosphere of the ad review. However, my favorite part of the evening was being able to discuss what we watched with those around me as the game continued. Below are some of the stand-out conversations I had with other students as we reflected on the effectiveness of the ads.
As a brand that is already well recognized for food delivery, Uber Eats really built upon its net equity to show through humor that it is expanding its delivery services beyond food. The ad was attention-grabbing from the beginning, as we watched actors try to eat non-consumable products from Uber Eats packaging. This also helped us to link right away that Uber Eats was adding on additional delivery services, and not navigating away from food delivery.
This ad completely lit up social media and definitely comes out on top for distinction. While its 60-second, ’90s style bouncing QR code was very memorable and attention grabbing, the ad itself literally had no other content to be graded along the ADPLAN framework. While non-traditional in ad execution, Coinbase was able to pique viewers’ interest and drive them to find out what the QR code would link to because the ad had no other content. What I think is even more genius is that Coinbase was probably able to capture more than 60 seconds of your attention as you navigated to their website, and you probably missed some of the following ads as you browsed their offerings.
This ad featuring Anna Kendrick and Barbie relied on the viewer to understand the Barbie dream house reference. This linkage was important to make the connection on how Rocket Mortgage could help benefit the customer. Something we were wondering was whether Rocket Mortgage had intended to target a more female demographic with its choice of Barbie references. Does it make sense to spend on ad space when it will resonate with half the audience? Was the Super Bowl the right time to air this particular ad?
I came out of this experience with a much better understanding of what made ads effective. It was such a unique experience to be able to chat with others who were equally as interested in the commercial breaks as I was. As brands continue to compete for the consumer’s attention, I look forward to seeing how the Super Bowl ads evolve in future years.