Panel of university professors critique Super Bowl ads via Twitter


Jonathan Garza

Undeclared freshman Grace Bellone (left) and public relations plan II freshman Caroline Read (right) watch the final minutes of Super Bowl XLVIII at Tower Pizza Bistro on Sunday evening. Bellone was frustrated to see the Seattle Seahawks dominate the Denver Broncos with a final score of 43-8. 

Kate Dannenmaier

For many TV viewers, the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 thrashing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night was a distraction from the real game going on — the ads.

At a yearly panel organized by the public affairs, advertising and public relations departments of the Moody College of Communication, seven advertising professors came together to discuss the Super Bowl’s ads via Twitter.

University professors and lecturers tweeted their opinions on the Super Bowl commercials under #SBAdJudge. University advertising and public relations students also tweeted under #AdGradBowl and #ADV378S.

Public relations junior Hugo Rojo said the Super Bowl is as much of an event for those interested in advertising as it is for football fans.

“It’s almost a national holiday for sports aficionados, so you can imagine what it’s like for us advertising and PR folk,” Rojo said.

Advertising professor Neal Burns said he thinks this year’s panel had a nice mix of perspectives, as each contributor focuses on different aspects of the ads.

“I’m interested in the brand,” Burns said. “And I’m interested in how well the spot supports the image I’ve got of the brand.”

Advertising assistant professor Carlos Hernandez said he looked for emotional appeals of the advertisements.

“It requires a lot of creativity and talent to create ads that can connect emotionally with their audience,” Hernandez said.

Advertisements with an emotional appeal dominated the airwaves this year. Advertising assistant professor Angeline Close said Coca-Cola’s “America Is Beautiful” ad was effective. 

“America as one is the theme behind the Coca-Cola spot. Superb use of music in advertising & multi-cultural branding. Pretty Ad.” Close tweeted.

The professors also commented on the strategies employed by the advertisements. Michael Mackert, an advertising and public relations associate professor, said he thought the RadioShack ad was especially clever. 

“Interesting from RadioShack, leaning into the idea that it’s old and outdated and needs to change. Loved that.” Mackert tweeted.

Burns said the Super Bowl commercials are important because they have the potential to not only reflect, but influence society.

“There’s a way in which advertising, on the one hand, reflects our culture, and other aspects where advertising helps create or articulate our culture,” Burns said.

While the audience numbers for Super Bowl XLVIII have not been released yet, last year’s event attracted about 108.7 million viewers. Becuase of the large audience size, a 30-second ad cost about $4 million.

Mackert said the ads would be a point of focus for him with or without an organized panel. 

“Since tweeting during the Super Bowl about ads is something I would have been doing anyway, it seemed like a fun way to engage with other faculty and students,” Mackert said.