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Georgia College business students explore advertising through Super Bowl commercials

A Doritos ad that aired during the Super Bowl announced their new “Flamin’ Hot” flavored chip. Chester Cheetah from Cheetos responded by claiming Cheetos as the original “flaming hot.” The response was not in a traditional TV ad, but rather a video posted on Chester’s Twitter feed.

Social media now provides a less expensive and easily accessible platform for advertisers, even during major events like the Super Bowl— known for big commercials. Cheetos video response posted to Twitter has more than 663,000 views.

Students in Kim Roush’s Marketing, Advertising and Communications courses took to Twitter to analyze this year’s Super Bowl ads and connect them with the theories they’re learning in class this semester.

“Students react positively when they get to engage in hands-on, application-based learning activities that are relevant to them,” said Roush, marketing lecturer. “They had to find two examples of each theory in the commercials shown during the game and tweet about how the theory was used. With over 60 commercials aired during the Super Bowl, we get many great examples of theory in action.”

The three-part project started with the live tweets during the Super Bowl, then students wrote a paper to expand on their tweets about the ads. Lastly, Roush hosted a Super Bowl “after party” where they watched some of the most memorable commercials together and discussed them.

“My whole educational philosophy is built on experiential learning, and this project is a great example of that,” said Roush.

Using #GCMSBP, more than 166 users, including 94 students and 12 College of Business faculty members, tweeted more than 1,550 times during the Super Bowl.

The group garnered more than 90 interactions with major brands like Colgate and Budweiser—some even sending “swag” to students. That’s more than triple the interactions last year.

“After I started, it was hard to stop analyzing the commercials,” said Cassidy Carlson, junior marketing major, who posted the most tweets of the night.

During their Super Bowl “after party” —the first class after the big game—students talked about the things they saw in the ads. They discussed interesting collaborations of brands, how some brands chose to target other brands, then how others responded. In the end, they connected it all with the theories they’re learning in the course.

Students also saw firsthand the impact social media can have for advertisers—promulgated with users talking about ads online.

“During the four years I’ve done this, I’ve seen that students really develop a deeper appreciation for advertising and customer engagement,” she said. “They can really learn to understand the theory behind the decisions and appreciate the time and money spent on promotional plans.”

You can see the discussion on Twitter by using #GCMSBP or follow Roush at @kroushMKTG for more information on the project.

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