USC students rate Budweiser "Skydiver" ad top Super Bowl spot

by Chantelle Janelle

(Columbia) – For some, watching the commercials during the Super Bowl is just as important as the game itself. One group of USC students scrutinized the commercials more than most Sunday night, as grading the commercials in Super Bowl XXXIX was part of their homework.

USC professor Bonnie Drewiany says it’s all part of her course, Super Bowl Commercials: 1984 to 2005 . “In the course,” she explains, “we look at Super Bowl commercials over time, also looking at persuasiveness and grand identity.”

The group of 50, comprised of both students and faculty, met at USC’s Newsplex facility to watch the game and commercials on Replay TV, rating them on a CPS, a remote control polling device, during the broadcast. They were then asked to rate the commercials after viewing them.

Their choice for the best overall Super Bowl ad was Budweiser’s “Skydiver” commercial. Josh Sutherland, a student who took part in the analysis, said, “Budweiser had a really strong line-up.”

The students named a FedEx commercial their second favorite spot followed by an ad for Pepsi’s iTunes. Their assessment is similar to USA Today’s overnight study, which is published in Monday’s edition of the newspaper.

Drewiany’s students assessed how brand identity, likability and persuasiveness were manifested in the commercials. She says she wants students to know the effectiveness of an ad depends on more than entertainment, “If a commercial makes you laugh, but doesn’t persuade you to buy the brand, then it isn’t effective.” Super Bowl ads cost $2.4 million for 30 seconds of airtime.

Drewiany’s class will invite the winner to campus during Icomm week in April to receive the “Cocky” award and to give students an insider’s look at the making of the commercial.