Capturing a National Mood in 30 Seconds: Professor Weighs in on Super Bowl Ads


Super Bowl 51 was notable for many reasons, both because of the unprecedented come-from-behind victory of the New England Patriots, and because a large number of the advertisements aired on Sunday packed an emotional wallop directly connected to current events.

Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D., clinical associate professor of marketing at the Gabelli School of Business, said this was both by design and surprising.

“Super Bowl ads are different from normal ads. A company’s not going to present their regular-material ad. They’re spending nearly $5 million for 30 seconds, so they really want to have an effect; they really want to come on strong,” he said.

“They’re going to typically work on emotions, and they’re going to come up with something that’s provocative or humorous that makes you think of the brand in a new way.”

We sat with Malefyt for some good old-fashioned “Monday morning quarterbacking” on advertising’s biggest night of the year. Take a listen:

And if you missed the ads:

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