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UW-Eau Claire Faculty, Students
Research Success of Super Bowl Ads
MAILED: Jan. 4, 2000|
Advertising during the Super Bowl one of the biggest events of the year has brought some companies great deals of success but others little more than giant holes in their pocketbook.
A team of faculty and student researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is working on one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on Super Bowl advertising. During the past 1 1/2 years, the team has carefully examined published studies and articles written about Super Bowl advertising. Senior marketing major Lori Christians, Dr. Charles Tomkovick, associate professor of management and marketing, and Dr. Rama Yelkur, assistant professor of management and marketing, also has watched and studied every commercial that has run during the last 10 Super Bowls to find out which commercials worked and which did not.
"Super Bowl advertising is noteworthy to everyone," Tomkovick said. "It is typically the most expensive advertising time slot of the year."
"Viewers have come to expect highly entertaining Super Bowl ads," said Yelkur. "The Super Bowl and its ads are a product bundle, marketed to an audience that doesn't mind the large number of ads during the game because they have been conditioned over the years to expect it. The Super Bowl projects a party atmosphere, complete with food and beverage ads, ads with animals and animation, and longer ads that are able to tell the viewer a story about each brand."
Some 130-140 million Americans watch at least some part of the Super Bowl or about half the American population and there are 800 million viewers worldwide. Surveys have found that at least 10 million people (7 percent) watch the Super Bowl exclusively for the ads.
"It's amazing how much I've learned about Super Bowl advertising," said Christians, Wausau. "Dr. Tomkovick asked me several years ago if I was interested in working with him on a Super Bowl student/faculty research collaborative project. I jumped at it right away because I have been an avid Super Bowl ad watcher my entire life."
To run a 30-second ad during the 2000 Super Bowl, it will cost $2 million just for the ad spot which doesn't include the cost of producing, writing and assembling the ad, Tomkovick said, noting that some Super Bowl ads are a minute or more in length.
Through research, the UW-Eau Claire team is trying to explain why certain ads do better than others. Their goal is to help advertisers fine-tune their advertising approaches.
"We're looking to help advertisers understand what works and what doesn't work in Super Bowl advertising," Tomkovick said. "This is the most expensive time of the year. It's the biggest marketing event in America today."
The trio has already published a paper on Super Bowl advertising with the Academy of Marketing Theory and Practice and is working on several others. The team hopes to present its results to marketing faculty across the country and to publish its research in marketing journals.
"Lots of people are interested in the Super Bowl," Tomkovick said. "It's not the football game itself, it's the phenomenon."
Tomkovick said the average cost of airing an ad during the Super Bowl has risen from $1.6 to $2 million from 1999 to 2000, which is a 25 percent increase the largest increase in the history of the game. He said advertising during the Super Bowl is expensive because of the large number of people the ads reach.
"Interest in the Super Bowl is bigger than MTV and CNN," Tomkovick said. "America stops and takes notice on Super Bowl Sunday. The world is curious."
Through research, the group has found that 80 percent of movie advertisements during the Super Bowl have done well and that the average cost of producing and running a movie ad is only 1.3 percent of the movie's total profit.
"It's amazing to see the progress that has been made in our understanding of this event, once we've looked into it," Christians said.
Yelkur said their research indicates that car advertising and advertising that uses celebrities has not done particularly well during the Super Bowl. Ads containing sports themes, animals, animation, and food and beverage products tend to be more successful, she said.
The group has no plans of ending its research come Super Bowl.
"This is not a one-time shot for us," Tomkovick said. "We're interested in spending time on this. We thought it was worth it to learn what we could about the phenomenon because it's not going away."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Jan. 4, 2000