MBA students judge Super Bowl ads


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Kenny G music, rich old people fleeing from a pack of Afghan hounds, and a man in a smoking jacket hopping into an Audi.

All were elements of a Super Bowl advertisement that drew hearty laughter from a crowd of University of Iowa M.B.A. students in the snow-covered Kinnick Stadium pressbox Sunday.

The Graduate Marketing Association sponsored the Super Bowl XLV Party, in which roughly 80 graduate students gathered in a conference room to watch the game and its commercials. Each student rated every ad on a scale of one to five stars.

“This is a really fun and social opportunity for them to look at marketing in a fun way,” said Kelly Peacock, a graduate teaching assistant and one of the coordinators of the event. “It gives them real-world experience to see what companies are doing with their commercial advertising.”

During game play, people hurried after their children or spoke with friends. In the two-year program, students said, they have become a tightly knit group.

During commercials, however, chatter quieted, and all eyes turned to the projector screen, pens and pencils at the ready. The Doritos spots brought laughter, and the Bud Light commercials seemed to disappoint the audience. Regardless, participants watched all ads with rapt attention and promptly scored them. Four ads will be chosen: the best, worst, funniest, and the one with the most impact. Late Sunday night, the results had yet to be tallied.

“The rating system is more refined than last year,” said Steeler fan and M.B.A. student Nick Weiland.

He said, the Bud Light commercials this year were unimpressive because they were “all the same.”
The ads were rated based on several key factors including memorableness, brand awareness, and product features.

“It is essential to show the product,” said M.B.A. student Deepak Rohida.

But fun and humor are also key to a good commercial, he said, noting one of his favorite commercials of the night was the Pepsi Max ad in which a young woman gets hit in the head with a can of Pepsi.

The students’ ad-rating is meant to parallel that of USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter, with some key differences. The USA Today’s Ad Meter is based on likability, Peacock said, while M.B.A. students’ rankings come from a marketing perspective and are more objective.

Elsewhere in Iowa City, Super Bowl celebrations were less academic but no less enthusiastic. Green, yellow, white, and black jerseys filled the bars throughout the Pedestrian Mall as students and residents showed support for their teams.

But regardless of the score, fans said the game presented just another opportunity for friends to get together and have a good time.

“The atmosphere is great,” said UI senior Eddie Schick, who was wearing a Viking jersey at The Summit, 10 S. Clinton St. “Everybody is having a great time right now. It’s one of the best Sundays of the year.” He declared himself to be “neutral.”

Packer and Steeler fans seemed to be equally represented in Iowa City, with fans on both sides confident.

In the end, the Packers prevailed in Dallas, beating the Steelers, 31-25.

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