Super Bowl ads for Sunday are going for about $5 million a pop for the privilege of being seen by around 110 million people.  Two things are certain:

  1. Some will succeed…wildly.  You will not only love the ad, but you’ll remember whose ad it is.  And, importantly, it inspired some sort of positive association with the brand.
  2. Some will fail…miserably.  For example, if you say “I loved the ad where the dog jumped out of a plane and his parachute didn’t open but then the dog flapped his paws and flew while barking ‘I Believe I Can Fly’, but I don’t remember whose ad it was” the ad failed miserably.

Kind of hard for a Chicago Booth guy to admit, but a – if not the – leading expert on Super Bowl advertising is Northwestern Kellogg prof Tim Calkins.  Undoubtedly, just as you will see morning after analyses of the game, you will see his analysis of the ads.  Here is his ADPLAN framework for rating Super Bowl ads.  Watch the ads through these lenses:

Attention – did the ad attract and hold your attention (think the classic Apple 1984 ad)?

Distinction – did it stand out (think last year’s Mr. Clean ad)?

Positioning – did the ad communicate benefits and differentiate itself from the competition (think Miller Lite’s “tastes great, less filling” spots)?

Linkage – can you associate the brand with the ad (think pretty much any Anheuser-Busch ad)?

Amplification – how did you react to the ad (I think of last year’s Google Home ad)?

N et equity – is the ad consistent with the brand (again – think any A-B ad)?

Too much for you?  Here is an easier way.  Call it the BBB method, which combines the six attributes into three.

Breakthrough (awareness and distinction) Did the ad wow you?

Benefit (positioning and amplification) Did it resonate positively?

Branding (linkage and net equity) Was it consistent with what you would expect from the brand?

A couple of spoiler alerts.  Absolutely do not miss the Avacados from Mexico ad.  Or the M&M’s spot.  Both really good.  And tune into the Diet Coke spot as an example of an ad that may fail miserably.

Enjoy the ads.  And the game.  And at the risk of angering a lot of you, Go Eagles.