Experts disappointed by Super Bowl ads

Super Bowl Sunday brings a lot of excitement. Many people tune in for the game, but several others just watch the commercials.

Super Bowl XLIV attracted 106.5 million viewers to CBA, beating last year’s numbers by more than 9 million, according to preliminary Nielsen TV ratings.

The advertisements shown during the game have become as popular as the game itself. Many viewers tune in for the expensive commercials to see which company will outdo the other for the most memorable and entertaining commercial.

“A 30-second spot during these programs is expensive, between $2.5 and $3 million for Super Bowl XLIV,” said Jacqueline Kacen, a clinical professor in the UH Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

With the ratings being out, multiple companies that invested in Super Bowl ads are now celebrating with the champion New Orleans Saints.

Kacen said the amount of money companies spend to have an ad during the game is reasonable for the amount of people they will reach.

“The $3 million for 30 seconds spent depends on what is the objective of the advertiser,” Kacen said. 

“One metric that media planners (and) advertisers use is cost per thousand. How much does it cost me, the advertiser, to reach a thousand people? Over a 100 million people viewed the Super Bowl, so take that $3 million cost, divide that by a bunch of people, and your cost per thousand is reasonable.”

Executive professor of marketing Steven Koch said the amount spent depends on the company and its objectives for the ads.

“For example, Doritos did a really good job. Doritos had three commercials. Those ads were developed by the public, not by Doritos,” Koch said.  “The public got to vote on which commercials they wanted to see on the Super Bowl, and the three that we saw are the ones that got in.”

The millions of dollars spent per 30 seconds is not the only expense the companies have in the Super Bowl.

“In marketing, everything is about numbers,” Koch said. “I guarantee all the companies are up all night right now analyzing those numbers.”

Although the game was exciting, the commercials disappointed both marketing experts, who expected more from the Super Bowl ads this year.

“Very few of the ads that I saw made me feel I should buy that product; it didn’t give me a reason to buy the ad,” Kacen said. “Liking an ad is not the same as buying a brand. There are lots of ads I like, but will never buy the brand.”

Koch said some of the ads lacked creativity because the commercials didn’t really catch people’s attention.

“I think the challenge (that) is when you do so well previous years, at some point you can’t continue doing better and better,” Koch said.

Web sites such as had an “ad meter” where people could watch the ads they liked and the ones they missed and vote for the best and worst commercial. The three ads that received the most votes were Snickers, Doritos and Bud Light.

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