Their 'red carpet event': Advertising faculty, students gear up for Sunday's Super Bowl commercials

Advertising faculty and students are ready to examine the ads.
Advertising faculty and students are ready to examine the ads.
Image Credit: Lainey Garner

While many people gear up for Super Bowl LIV by making predictions about their favored team, advertising and public relations students, faculty and professionals are counting down to new TV commercials.

Robin Spring, assistant professor of advertising and public relations, called Sunday's football game their red carpet event.

“I love how it brings the advertising community together because it gives us a chance to talk in class, to talk online and take the time to analyze what ads worked and what didn’t,” Spring said. “I love that aspect of it. The advertising community unites and it’s such a big deal, it’s kind of our red carpet of the year.”

Spring makes a point to discuss advertising strategies with her students before the Super Bowl.

“There are some advertising theories I’ll have students look at, pick a few ads, and kind of dissect them and see if they can find the strategy, theory and appeal,” she said, adding appeals use emotional, informational or comedic strategies. 

Spring is also the advisor for the Advertising Club on campus. Students plan to live tweet  during the commercials to discuss the ads (follow #ADPRSB), and will meet after the game to dive deeper into what made the ads great, or not so great. 

Some companies have already released teasers of their commercials. Spring said that has been a recent practice to gain more traction. 

“In the past you had to wait for the Super Bowl before you got to see,” she said. “Now brands are realizing that if you tease it a little bit, people are starting to talk about it, and start looking forward to it. 

"Some people will even release the whole ad ahead of time. They’re trying to get more exposure, but it takes away from the suspense.”

Doritos will release a commercial featuring Sam Elliot and Lil Nas X taking part in a dance battle to the hit song “Old Town Road.” It also includes an interactive feature, where viewers can participate in the dance battle by using an app called Sway. 

“You have to grab somebody’s attention, keep it, and then you also have to think about recalls,” Spring said. “Is someone going to remember you for this? Companies are trying to get long-term traction for their investment."

Spring said the power of advertising, especially during events like the Super Bowl, can be a force for good. 

“Advertising really can advance some important issues, and encourage people take action." Spring said. "It’s very important for people who work in advertising to use their powers wisely, for the light side and not the dark side.”

-- written by Olivia Conaty, student writer