Newswise — EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Super Bowl is more than a football game: it’s a spectacle of entertainment. According to Nielsen ratings, eight of the 10 most-watched TV broadcasts in U.S. history have been Super Bowls. The other two in the top 10? The Apollo moon landing and Richard Nixon’s resignation speech.

This year, viewers will tune into the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers to watch the commercials, Usher’s halftime show and Taylor Swift cheering on Travis Kelce.

Michigan State University experts are available to discuss what makes a great Super Bowl commercial, how the NFL and brands use the Super Bowl to connect with consumers and the significance of the league’s investment in Black halftime performers signifies. 

Marketing and advertising

Robert Kolt, professor of practice emeritus in the MSU Department of Advertising and Public Relations, has led an ad-rating gathering for faculty in MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences for 27 years. He can discuss why the Super Bowl is such a big deal for advertisers and the components of a great Super Bowl ad.

“The great thing about the Super Bowl is that all the best commercials in the advertising business are showcased throughout the game. The Super Bowl is to the ad industry what the Oscars are to the movie industry. It’s an event that with a huge audience across all ages and demographics.

“Super Bowl ads have to be unique and memorable and recognizable long after the game. They have to be high quality in production, and they have to make people laugh. But most of all, a successful Super Bowl ad must sell something. In the end, these commercials need to be successful in influencing people to go out and buy the product they’re advertising.” 

Ayalla Ruvio is an associate professor of marketing in MSU’s Broad College of Business. She is an expert on retail and marketing strategies as well as consumer behavior and trends. She can speak about the strategy behind Super Bowl ads, sponsorships and marketing to drive viewership of the big game.

“The Super Bowl is the one time each year that we actually look forward to commercials. The ads are part of the experience and a great opportunity for brands to connect with consumers. In fact, most Super Bowl commercials don’t aim to increase sales: they aim to increase brand awareness or brand connection. Taylor Swift’s connection with the Kansas City Chiefs also presents a huge opportunity for brands, with a growing demographic of younger women tuning in to the NFL. The combination of the actual game, the commercials and the halftime show — it’s entertainment at its best. 

Michael McCune is a fixed-term faculty of marketing in the MSU Broad College of Business and senior director of insights and analytics at Kellanova an arm of the rebranded Kellogg Company encompassing snack-food brands like Pringles, Cheez-Its and Pop-Tarts. For nearly 15 years, McCune has led consumer data strategy and analytics with the multinational food manufacturing company. He’s experienced the excitement of working on the first Super Bowl ad for Pringles in 2015, and can discuss the process of creating an ad from ideation to execution.

“We spend a lot of time with consumers to understand why they love our brands and how they fit into their lives. This helps our advertising agency find the right idea, story and tone for our ads. This even helps us pick the right celebrities to serve as spokespeople.

“After we develop the ad, we expose it to a small group of consumers to get feedback. We expose consumers to preproduction ads, either online or in person. We sometimes expose people within the context of a TV show, webpage or social feed, which is sometimes referred to as clutter reel. We ask consumers questions, usually in a survey format, to understand if the ad is easy to understand, entertaining, well branded and delivering a motivational message.”

Link to full Q&A with Michael McCune 

Entertainment, culture and race

Christina L. Myers, assistant professor in the MSU School of Journalism, studies the intersection of race and media, with a specific focus on Black experiences in music, sports and news. She can comment on the NFL’s recent efforts to highlight Black hip-hop and R&B artists in Super Bowl halftime shows, which is the result of a collaboration with Roc Nation, an entertainment company owned by Jay-Z.

“The Super Bowl halftime show has seen the likes of legendary Black artists Michael Jackson, Prince and Beyonce. However, it’s essential to consider the sweeping number of Black performers in recent years who have taken centerstage since Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL to produce the widely televised shows. The necessary elevation of sounds of Blackness through hip-hop and R&B music is best exemplified through the recent performances of Rihanna, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige. It is demonstrative of how representation of Black athleticism, as well as Black intellect, Black excellence and Black artistry are essential to highlighting Black culture, uplifting Black voices and witnessing Black joy." 

“This is especially significant during a time in our shared history of global awareness toward racial injustices and harm of Black bodies following the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among countless others. The duality of Black artists taking center stage during an institution that has served as a space for political discourse and racial resistance is illustrious of the unifying and transformative influences of both music and professional sports — where the love of music and sport transcends cultural, societal, racial and generational differences."

“Jay-Z’s partnership with the league has not only allowed hip-hop and R&B artists to take their rightful space in front of millions as an honored, cross-cultural experience. More than the music, Black artists’ presence exemplifies the power of Black music and the transformative, healing, uplifting and necessary sound of Black voices.”

Ruth Nicole Brown, MSU Research Foundation Professor and chair of the Department of African American and African Studies, is the author of “Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward a Hip-Hop Feminist Pedagogy” and co-author of “Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminist Pedagogy Reader.” She can discuss hip-hop’s growth and significance in the public sphere — such as the Super Bowl halftime show — and the significance of more Black women, femmes and girls in the space.

Contact: [email protected]

“Black women and girls are not always credited for their contributions to hip-hop although so much of their/our participation has changed the industry and the culture.”


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