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Students wearing 3-D glasses

Bud Light Wins Sixth Annual USC Ad Bowl

Football season has come to an end and the ad refs have made their final call—Bud Light’s Conan O’Brien commercial is the winner of the 2009 Ad Bowl Poll. The Conan O’Brien commercial received the highest overall score, making it the fourth time that DDB Chicago and Bud Light have won USC’s annual Ad Bowl Poll. See previous winners>

Advertising alumnus John Baker, ’01, and the DDB team that created the commercial have been invited to tell the behind-the-scenes story during I-Comm week on Tuesday, March 31, when they receive the prized Cocky statuette.

Students in Associate Professor Bonnie Drewniany’s Honors College Super Bowl Advertising class gathered for the big game at Newsplex, the USC/Ifra converged newsroom, on Sunday evening, Feb. 1.

Using remote control polling devices, students systematically rated each national ad during the Super Bowl in three categories: persuasion, brand identity and likability.

Fan reaction

More than 60 students, friends and faculty gathered to view the most anticipated ads of the football season.

Watch the "Gamecocks for Conan" Video

Watch the Winning Ad

While many of them were required to be there for Professor Drewniany’s class, others came to share in the Super Bowl experience.

More than 60 students, friends and faculty gathered to view the most anticipated ads of the football season. While many of them were required to be there for Professor Drewniany’s class, others came to share in the Super Bowl experience.
See more photos>

“We think that we already have a very strong advertising program. This class in particular is a creative and fun way to learn the principles of advertising,” said Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies.

Professor Drewniany, who watches the big game just for the commercials, says the ads are a time capsule of our society. “Numerous commercials this year featured the bad economy, from the Bud Light ad that showed office workers facing budget cuts to the Cash4Gold.com ad, which showed MC Hammer selling all his bling. Even the Conan O’Brien ad mocked the extreme measures that people take to earn some extra cash.” Drewniany added, "But the popular TV host didn't sell out. O'Brien donated his fee to the FreshAir Fund, which sends inner-city New York children to the country for vacation."

“This year will be especially interesting to watch what commercials are shown,” said Dr. Carol Pardun, Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “The economy may affect the trends that advertisers use to reach audiences.”

Senior Kyle Via said, “I think that having a real time response to ads is the best way to evaluate them. This poll is something unique to USC and recognized nationally. I am excited to participate in such an event.”

Mary Margaret Elsey, a freshman advertising major, said the Ad Bowl experience gave her a chance to apply what she has learned in class to help appreciate the strategies advertisers used this year. She was particularly excited for the ads in 3-D.

“My favorite commercial was the Bud Light ad with Conan O’Brien. It was interesting to see an ad within an ad and the effects that an advertisement can have,” Cameron Powell, a freshman print journalism major said.

Online Poll

Alumni and friends of the J-School selected their own favorite ad in a separate online poll on the Journalism Web site.

Career Builder.com was the clear favorite with this crowd.

CareerBuilder.com won our Online Poll

About the Class

Leading up to the Super Bowl, Drewniany's students have reviewed commercials from previous years to identify trends, strengths and weaknesses. Each student analyzes a different year of Super Bowl ads on topics ranging from the betrayal of minorities in Super Bowl commercials to the evolution of humor, to the use of jingles and popular music over time.

Super Bowl Group Shot

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