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Professors say Bud has best Super Bowl ads

Feb. 5, 2007

KALAMAZOO--A Budweiser ad in which beer-stealing crabs go to great lengths to capture a cooler of Budweiser took top honors as the best commercial of Super Bowl XLI, according faculty in the Western Michigan University Advertising and Promotion Program and Department of Marketing.

While millions of football fans watched Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts topped the Chicago Bears, WMU professors paid close attention to the ads between the action on the field, rating them for their creativity, strategy, execution and production values on a 10-point scale.

Budweiser dominated the top eight ads, while commercials promoting Doritos also scored high. In addition to winning the top spot, ads promoting Budweiser captured third and fifth. The third place Budweiser ad featured a white dog that gets splattered with mud to give him spots and then rides on the Clydesdale hitch, while a commercial in which rapper JAY-Z and Don Shula face off over a futuristic football game captured fifth.

10 Best Super Bowl Ads

1. Budweiser Crabs
2. Doritos Crash
3. Budweiser Dalmatian/Spot Wink
4. Doritos Cashier
5. Budweiser Face Off
6. Snickers Mechanic
7. GMC Robot
8. Fed Ex Moon Office

Five Worst Super Bowl Ads

1. Sierra Mist Karate
2. Sierra Mist Comb-over
3. Sales Genie.com
4. AHA-Heart
5. GoDaddy.com

Ads in the top eight hit the group's criteria for effectiveness. Panelists thought the ads were entertaining, had excellent production qualities and were consistent with the brand strategy. They also looked for uniqueness and the ability to cut through the clutter and get the brand message out.

Professors said there was a lot of hype about consumer-generated commercials, but only Doritos was the real winner with "Crash" and "Cashier," using attributes of the product in humorous relationship contexts--almost taking a page out of Budweiser's play book. The NFL spot and the Chevy spot that showcased winners of nationwide contests did not live up to the hype, in their opinion.

Commercials from Careerbuilder.com left professors unimpressed, and they were not sure that the Careerbuilder.com spots were, creatively, an improvement from its original 'monkey' approach; but it was still on strategy. The newcomers, Salesgenie.com & Van Heusen/Izod, were less than impressive. The Coca-Cola Co., although it did not showcase brand new ads, was a welcome addition to the mix, as the company has not run spots in the Super Bowl since 1998.

Professors said the two ads for the Coke-Side of Life campaign (Love and Assembly Line), which debuted earlier this year, are prime examples of a company re-emphasizing its key message and original brand promise. There was general agreement that the creativity was nothing special this year, especially if companies were hoping to generate a lot of buzz for their brands in the coming weeks.

"Overall, I was disappointed in the quality and creativity of this year's batch of commercials," says Dr. Stephen Newell, WMU professor of marketing.

Good or bad, people still notice the ads, says Dr. Karen Lancendorfer, assistant professor of marketing.

"Super Bowls are still the ads that get watched and talked about the next day,' Lancendorfer says. "Although the ads this year were less than stellar, we'll still talk about them and people will go on-line to watch them again. In the age of TIVO and DVRs, the Super Bowl is the one chance brands have to reach out to the masses and generate interest and excitement for themselves."

Sunday's critique of Super Bowl ads was organized by the WMU Advertising and Promotion Program. Founded in the mid-1960s, the program is housed within the WMU Department of Marketing in the Haworth College of Business. Currently, there are about 300 students majoring in advertising and promotion, along with about 25 minors from outside the college.

Dr. JoAnn Atkin, assistant professor of marketing, agreed this was a lackluster year for Super Bowl ads.

"There were no stand outs this year," Atkin says. "The game was more entertaining than the ads for a change. Strategically speaking, brands like Budweiser, Coke and Doritos were right on target, as usual."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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