CLE Lecturer Predicted Most Successful Super Bowl Ad

March 18, 2014

By now, almost everyone with a television or computer has viewed Budweiser’s 60-second commercial featuring friendship against all odds between an adorable yellow lab puppy and an enormous Clydesdale horse.

Premiered at the 2014 Super Bowl, the ad, which cost more than $4 million, scored top honors in USA Today’s Ad Meter and Hulu’s Ad Zone for its popularity with viewers.

Keith Quesenberry

Keith Quesenberry

That was no surprise to Keith Quesenberry, who teaches marketing, advertising and social media classes in the Whiting School’s Center for Leadership Education. Quesenberry conducted a two-year content analysis of 108 Super Bowl commercials and found that the Budweiser ad had all the hallmarks of a commercial with impact: clear exposition, rising acting, a climax, falling action and denouement.

“People think it’s all about sex or humor or animals, but what we’ve found is that the underbelly of a great commercial is whether it tells a story or not,” Quesenberry said.

Quesenberry’s study, conducted with business professor Michael K. Coolsen of Shippensburg University, “What Makes a Super Bowl Ad Super for Word-of-Mouth Buzz? Five-Act Dramatic Form Impacts Super Bowl Ad Ratings,” will be published this spring in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice.

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