Super Bowl Ads Score with Popular Music

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's the perennial question asked each year during Super Bowl season.

Does humor sell? Is it the ad with the coolest celebrity? Or, is popular music driving the success of your favorite Super Bowl commercial?

Popular culture Expert David Allan, Ph.D. '99, with Saint Joseph's University's Haub School of Business is wrapping up a 10-year study of popular music in Super Bowl commercials this year. Through his research, Allan will illustrate the frequency in which advertisers employ popular music to market and relate with consumers.

In 2005, for example, Allan says popular music was used in 34.6 percent of commercials during the big game. In 2013, his research shows a number closer to 38 percent.

"Popular music and advertising have much in common," he explains. "Both share a similar path to acceptance and notoriety."

The alliance between advertising and popular music is so strong that Super Bowl advertisers often count on the great power and potential of music to elicit an emotional response in viewers. "They want consumers to form a bond between bands and brands," says Allan, chair and associate professor of marketing at Saint Joseph's.

Despite its prevalence in Super Bowl commercials, Allan says the effectiveness of popular music in advertising depends on how the commercials are used.

"Marketing is all about people," he says. "People are stimulated by music and oftentimes use music to craft their identities. If an advertiser hits the right note, he or she has a strong chance of making their ad memorable."

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 can be reached for comment at dallan@sju.edu, at 610-660-1637 or by calling University Communications at 610-660-1355.




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