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IS SUPER BOWL ADVERTISING SUPER EFFECTIVE ?
About 140 million Americans and 700 million total global viewers tune in to Super Bowl Sunday, making
the event one of the largest occasions for home entertainment. Advertising time during the Super Bowl is
limited and priced at a premium. The fight for the prime spots starts months in advance of the actual
airtime. In 1993, the cost for a 30 – second time slot was a high $850,000, but by 1997 the cost had shot to
$1.2 million for the same short time frame. In 1998, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl cost $1.3
million. In 2000, a 30-second spot during the Super bowl cost companies a record average of $2.2 million.
Dot.com companies that have since failed or are struggling to keep their heads above water purchased forty
percent of the Super Bowl ad slots in 2000. For the 2001 Super Bowl XXXVI, the average rate for an
advertising spot was approximately 2.1 million.
In 2002, during Super Bowl XXXVI, Fox Network offered 60 commercial spots for a total of 30
minutes of advertising time. The average selling price for each 30-second spot was just under $2 million, at
$ 1.9 million each. Companies who paid for commercial time during Super Bowl XXXVI included
Anheuser- Busch, who purchased ten 30 – second spots, Pepsi Co, who featured one 90-second commercial
starring Britney Spears, E-trade, M & M/Mars, AT & T Wireless, Levi Strauss, Yahoo, Visa and fast food
chains Quizno’s Taco Bell, and Subway are among others.
Although Fox did end up selling all of the available ad spots, the network did not sell the final ad
until the Thursday before the game. There are several reasons for the selling delay and for the reduced rates
in 2002. First, marketers were facing the “worst advertising recession in recent memory.” This caused
companies to carefully monitor how they spent their advertising budgets and many decided that the money
could be better applied elsewhere. Many companies chose to advertise during other prime time events that
were more affordable. The average rate for a 30-second spot during the early evening news in 2002 was
$45,900. Even events such as the Golden Globes (estimated price $45,000 per 30-second spot), the
Grammies (estimated price $57,000 per 30-second spot), and the Academy Awards (estimated price $1.6
million per 30-second spot) offer companies ad time at lower rates. However, these events do not draw as
many viewers as the Super Bowl. Secondly, the NFL, for the first time, sponsored a pre-game show on the
Friday night before the Super Bowl. Some companies, such as AOL Time Warner, Phillip Morris, Miller
Brewing Co., and Motorola chose to avoid paying “television’s highest commercial prices” and bought ad
time for lower rates during the pre-game show. A final reason for lower rates and less marketer interest in
Super Bowl ad time was competition from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The games began just five
days after the Super Bowl and offered 17 days of events during which advertisers could buy commercial
time. The average selling rate for a 30-second prime time spot during the Olympics was only $600,000, a
bargain compared to the Super Bowl.
Is Super Bowl advertising worth the cost? For many advertisers who bought time slots in previous
games the answer was a resounding no. Nissan, Porsche, Fila and MCI passed on the chance to advertise
during the game. According to marketing consultant Jack Trout, the increasing rates made buying Super
Bowl ad time difficult to justify. Nissan marketing Chief Brad Bradshaw stated that although the company
had intended to advertise during the game, it came to the conclusion that the resources could be better used
to sell its vehicles in other ways.
In addition to the cost factor, many question what effect advertising actually has on the audience.
The purpose of an advertisement is to increase customer awareness for a particular brand. For Super Bowl
ads, however, the brand name often becomes secondary to the commercial itself in terms of viewer
attention. Super Bowl ads have become events in and of themselves, with each firm trying to put out the
next earth-shattering commercial that will stir talk about the commercial itself. Ever since Apple
computer’s classic “1984” ad, firms have been trying to top previous years’ ads. Ad agencies and clients
often seem to shoot for ads that are extraordinary for the sake or creativity, rather than their intended
purpose, with many attention-getting promotions not translating into product purchases. It is questionable
whether brand name is retained, and so despite having an incredible commercial, many advertisers’ ad
dollars possibly goes into just providing new fodder for water cooler conversation for the week instead of
forming a lasting brand image in the minds of consumers. Without new research into the effectiveness of
Super Bowl advertising and its effect on consumers, many advertisers may be better off avoiding buying
Super Bowl ad time and abandoning the world’s biggest television audience.
Some advertisers like Purina Cat Chow have taken a slightly different approach by purchasing
airtime on the show directly following the Super Bowl. They obtained airtime at one-sixth of the cost
during the game and they believe that they retain approximately 40 percent of the audience. Which
advertiser got the biggest bang for the bucks: M & M/Mars that advertised during Super Bowl 2002, or
Purina Cat Chow that advertised after the game? Without systematic marketing research aimed at
measuring Super Bowl advertising effectiveness, questions such as these beg answers. It remains to be
established that Super Bowl advertising is super effective?
Questions:
1. What kind of research design would you recommend for determining the effectiveness of M &
M/Mars advertising during the Super Bowl?
2. If the research design involves a survey of households, which survey method would you
recommend and why?
3. What kind of measures and scales will you employ in your survey?
4. Can the observation method be used to determine the effectiveness of M & M/Mars advertising
during the Super Bowl? If so, which observation method would you recommend and why?
5. Which syndicated services discussed in the book can provide useful information ?

Answer
Questions:
1. What kind of research design would you recommend for determining the effectiveness of M & M/Mars advertising during the Super Bowl?

2. If the research design involves a survey of households, which survey method would you recommend and why?
Methodologically, marketing research uses the following types of research designs:[5]

Based on questioning:
Qualitative marketing research - generally used for exploratory purposes - small number of respondents - not generalizable to the whole population - statistical significance and confidence not calculated - examples include focus groups, in-depth interviews, and projective techniques
Quantitative marketing research - generally used to draw conclusions - tests a specific hypothesis - uses random sampling techniques so as to infer from the sample to the population - involves a large number of respondents - examples include surveys and questionnaires. Techniques include choice modelling, maximum difference preference scaling, and covariance analysis.
Based on observations:
Ethnographic studies -, by nature qualitative, the researcher observes social phenomena in their natural setting - observations can occur cross-sectionally (observations made at one time) or longitudinally (observations occur over several time-periods) - examples include product-use analysis and computer cookie traces. See also Ethnography and Observational techniques.
Experimental techniques -, by nature quantitative, the researcher creates a quasi-artificial environment to try to control spurious factors, then manipulates at least one of the variables - examples include purchase laboratories and test markets
Researchers often use more than one research design. They may start with secondary research to get background information, then conduct a focus group (qualitative research design) to explore the issues. Finally they might do a full nation-wide survey (quantitative research design) in order to devise specific recommendations for the client.

3. What kind of measures and scales will you employ in your survey?

Standardized services are research studies conducted for different client firms but in a standard way. For example, procedures for measuring advertising effectiveness have been standardized so that the results can be compared across studies and evaluative norms can be established. The Starch Readership Survey is the most widely used service for evaluating print advertisements; another well-known service is the Gallup and Robinson Magazine Impact Studies. These services are also sold on a syndicated basis.
•   Customized services offer a wide variety of marketing research services customized to suit a client's specific needs. Each marketing research project is treated uniquely.
•   Limited-service suppliers specialize in one or a few phases of the marketing research project. Services offered by such suppliers are classified as field services, coding and data entry, data analysis, analytical services, and branded products. Field services collect data through mail, personal, or telephone interviewing, and firms that specialize in interviewing are called field service organizations. These organizations may range from small proprietary organizations which operate locally to large multinational organizations with WATS line interviewing facilities. Some organizations maintain extensive interviewing facilities across the country for interviewing shoppers in malls.
•   Coding and data entry services include editing completed questionnaires, developing a coding scheme, and transcribing the data on to diskettes or magnetic tapes for input into the computer. NRC Data Systems provides such services.
•   Analytical services include designing and pretesting questionnaires, determining the best means of collecting data, designing sampling plans, and other aspects of the research design. Some complex marketing research projects require knowledge of sophisticated procedures, including specialized experimental designs, and analytical techniques such as conjoint analysis and multidimensional scaling. This kind of expertise can be obtained from firms and consultants specializing in analytical services.
•   Data analysis services are offered by firms, also known as tab houses, that specialize in computer analysis of quantitative data such as those obtained in large surveys. Initially most data analysis firms supplied only tabulations (frequency counts) and cross tabulations (frequency counts that describe two or more variables simultaneously). With the proliferation of software, many firms now have the capability to analyze their own data, but, data analysis firms are still in demand.
•   Branded marketing research products and services are specialized data collection and analysis procedures developed to address specific types of marketing research problems. These procedures are patented, given brand names, and marketed like any other branded product.

4. Can the observation method be used to determine the effectiveness of M & M/Mars advertising during the Super Bowl? If so, which observation method would you recommend and why?
In marketing research, the most frequently used types of observational techniques are:
•   Personal observation
o   observing products in use to detect usage patterns and problems
o   observing license plates in store parking lots
o   determining the socio-economic status of shoppers
o   determining the level of package scrutiny
o   determining the time it takes to make a purchase decision
•   Mechanical observation
o   eye-tracking analysis while subjects watch advertisements
   oculometers - what the subject is looking at
   pupilometers - how interested is the viewer
o   electronic checkout scanners - records purchase behaviour
o   on-site cameras in stores
o   Nielsen box for tracking television station watching
o   voice pitch meters - measures emotional reactions
o   psychogalvanometer - measures galvanic skin response
•   Audits
o   retail audits to determine the quality of service in stores
o   inventory audits to determine product acceptance
o   shelf space audits
•   Trace Analysis
o   credit card records
o   computer cookie records
o   garbology - looking for traces of purchase patterns in garbage
o   detecting store traffic patterns by observing the wear in the floor (long term) or the dirt on the floor (short term)
o   exposure to advertisements
•   Content analysis
o   observe the content of magazines, television broadcasts, radio broadcasts, or newspapers, either articles, programs, or advertisements

5. Which syndicated services discussed in the book can provide useful information ?

Standardized services are research studies conducted for different client firms but in a standard way. For example, procedures for measuring advertising effectiveness have been standardized so that the results can be compared across studies and evaluative norms can be established. The Starch Readership Survey is the most widely used service for evaluating print advertisements; another well-known service is the Gallup and Robinson Magazine Impact Studies. These services are also sold on a syndicated basis

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Leo Lingham

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management consulting process, management consulting career, management development, human resource planning and development, strategic planning in human resources, marketing, careers in management, product management etc

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18 years working managerial experience covering business planning, strategic planning, corporate planning, management service, organization development, marketing, sales management etc

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24 years in management consulting which includes business planning, strategic planning, marketing , product management,
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PRINCIPAL -- BESTBUSICON Pty Ltd

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MASTERS IN SCIENCE

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