University Instructor Shares Thoughts on Super Bowl Ad Trends

Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 7:33 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s no secret that the advertisements can draw just as much attention from viewers as the game does.

For years, students at the University of South Carolina have studied what makes these ads different as well as how they make an impact in the popular “Super Bowl Advertising” course.

Between the Coronavirus and its effects to the social and political unrest of the past year, advertisements could look different this year. We asked the course’s instructor, Russ Gottwald, what trends he predicts will show up in Sunday night’s ads.

“I think we’re going to see some that have some real gallows humor about just the sheer unmitigated nightmare that was 2020 and the fact that 2021 seems like its bidding to tell 2020 to hold its beer. I think you’re going to see some that are more of that ‘half time in America,’ ‘God made a farmer,’ or really really again bordering on sentimentality as far as whether it’s healthcare workers, the supply chain workers, the folks that are essential in making sure that we all get delivered all this stuff that we have to order now because we can’t go anywhere else to do it.”

Gottwald says these ads are a large investment and big business opportunity for brands. They provide companies with a unique chance to leave a lasting impression on the consumer.

“You’re talking about an event where the viewership is going to be somewhere north of 200 million people. It is an audience that doesn’t even have a close cousin in terms of how big it is. It’s an opportunity to do types of work for commercials that very rarely you would have the justification to do, whether in terms of budget or in terms of the types of creative that you do.”

That’s why he believes many companies who have taken a hit during the pandemic may be even more inclined to spend the money required to advertise on this big platform despite the profits they lost this year.

“I think there what it boils down to is what they think the return investment from advertising is. If its a company that thinks they need to keep their brand top of mind amongst people who aren’t going to be exposed to it this year, or haven’t been exposed to it for the past year I should say, then I think those folks their CMOs and their advertising agencies and their brand managers are going to say, ‘It’s actually more important than ever that we advertise because people are going to forget about us.’”

He expects Target and other retailers that have done well during the pandemic to cut their advertising budget and produce ads for the Super Bowl that are less expensive to make and celebrate healthcare workers or other essential workers.

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