Awaiting the Ads: Super Bowl 50

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

by Allison Sene '19

The 50th Super Bowl approaches: when friends and family gather to devour buffalo wings, wage ridiculous bets, and watch arguably the most interesting part: the commercials. It is time to prepare for the biggest football game of the year.

Whether you’re an avid football fan, or just a fan of gorging yourself on various chips and dips, it’s likely you’ll be tuning in not only for the big game, but for the ads as well.

Over the years, companies have discovered that the Super Bowl, with its vast audience, is one of the best times to advertise

“For most brands, major advertising campaigns don’t start with the new year, but with the Super Bowl,” says David Allan, Ph.D. '99 (M.B.A.), chair of marketing at Saint Joseph's University. “Super Bowl ads often serve as the ‘kickoff,’ setting the tone for companies’ annual marketing strategies,” he adds.

The plethora of commercials, ranging from witty, to clever, to tear-jerking, can be even more entertaining than the half time show. “We’ve come to expect and even look forward to ads from brands like Budweiser, Pepsi, and GoDaddy,” says Allan.

He predicts that Budweiser and Doritos will be top advertisers this year, as in previous years, spending five million dollars per each 30-second commercial. “Look also for Coca-Cola and their new ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign,” Allan advises, as well as “Steven Tyler ‘Walking This Way’ with Skittles.”

He notes that one of the increasingly popular strategies in Super Bowl ads is incorporating specific songs to set the tone. “Popular music has become a widely-used element in Super Bowl commercials,” says Allan, who is an expert in music marketing.

For those who can’t wait until Super Bowl Sunday to see the entertaining ads their favorite brands will display, many companies have released teasers that allow a sneak peek of what’s to come on game day.

“Teaser commercials have become like movie trailers getting the most active viewers and hopefully ultimate consumers anticipate the premiere,” Allan says. “Then after the Super Bowl the brands can post longer form commercials.”

Allan and his colleague, Stephanie Tryce, J.D., assistant professor of sports marketing at Saint Joseph’s, explain how music enhances ads in their article, Popular Music in Super Bowl Commercials 2005-2014, to be published later this year in the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship.

Allan has over 20 years of experience in media and ethics. In 2004, he was appointed to a National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Subcommittee on Indecency following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident.

He is also the author of This Note's For You: Popular Music + Advertising = Marketing Excellence (Business Expert Press, 2015), in which he devotes an entire chapter to Budweiser’s Super Bowl advertising strategy in the last two years, examining their use of popular music and their consistently high viewer ratings.




Media Contact

Allan can be reached for comment at, at 610-660-1637 or by calling University Communications at 610-660-3256.

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