Advertising students, professors rate Super Bowl ads on Twitter

Lynna Vo

For many viewers, the main attraction of Sunday night’s Super Bowl was not the Denver Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers but the ads that aired throughout the game. 

Students and faculty from the Moody College of Communication live-tweeted critiques of Super Bowl advertisements using the hashtag #AdGradBowl during the game. 

In the fourth annual AdGrad Bowl, communication professor Gary Wilcox formed a team made up of advertising professors and students to critique and monitor ads on social media for their emotional impact and brand visibility. Wilcox said the bowl gave students a chance to converse with advertisers over Twitter.

“Most agencies try to showcase their talents during the Super Bowl, and who better to critique that talent than the passionate advertising students and professors at UT?” Wilcox said. “Participants of AdGrad Bowl have the opportunity to interact with subject-matter experts, professors and passionate advertising students on the brink of joining the industry.”

Matthew McCutchin, an advertising and public relations lecturer who participated in the panel, said there was a lot of inconsistency with the advertisements this year.  

“Maybe I’m biased, but two of my faves were created by our former AdGrad students: ‘Avocados From Space,’ by GSD&M’s Leigh Muzslay Browne and Jon Williamson, and Apartments.com’s ‘Moving Day,’ written by RPA’s Andrew Hajjar,” McCutchin said.

Wilcox said the team was looking for great work that was memorable and impactful.

“Every Super Bowl, the stakes get higher and higher, which means innovative creativity, higher media prices and larger audiences,” Wilcox said. “With 30 second spots costing up to $5 million and an audience close to 120 million, this is a big event for brands.” 

Advertising junior Amy Tingle, who tuned into the live conversation, said the ads fell flat for her this year. 

“There were definitely ones that … stood out. What I liked and what I thought were good are two different things,” Tingle said. “I think everyone can agree that the [‘Puppymonkeybaby’] one was really weird and uncomfortable. However, it was a trending topic on Twitter within minutes, so if they wanted attention, that was certainly the way to go.”

Tingle said the event was a good learning experience for advertising students. 

“It gave students the chance to apply what we’re learning in class to real events,” Tingle said. “It was also a fun way to connect with professors and interact with each other around a fun event in our field.”