Feb 11, 2024

Behind the Scenes: Analyzing How Super Bowl Ads Speak to Their Viewers

How do advertisers justify spending $7 million to air an ad during the Super Bowl? Let your students be the judge on whether the ads were worth the investment. 

Use the buzz around the Super Bowl to dive into a discussion about the impact of advertising on consumer behavior. Have your students watch three of the most popular advertisements and answer these three questions for each: 

  • Who was the target audience for each of the three ads, and how can you tell?
  • What key messages were the ads trying to convey. On a scale of 1-5, how effective were they at delivering their message (5 being most effective)?
  • How do the ads use emotions, humor, or celebrities to connect with viewers? Is there one method to connect with audiences that you think is more effective than the others? 

1. Can't B Broken


2. An American Love Story - Volkswagen

3. E-Trade Picklebabies

Extra Credit: 57 minute podcast with transcript, This is Your Brain on Ads from the Hidden Brain podcast

Here are three questions to check for understanding after listening to the podcast: 

  • How do advertisements from childhood influence our preferences as adults?
  • Reflect on how companies use nostalgia and emotional appeals to market products. How does the podcast suggest these tactics affect consumer behavior, and can you think of a modern example where you've noticed this?
  • How can we become more aware and critical of the advertising we consume?


NGPF's Consumer Skils unit includes a lesson on  Advertisements


Looking for more ads? Here's a few more entertaining ones: 


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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