Social Consciousness Takes the Field in 2019 Super Bowl Advertising

Online conversation has the “big game” trending and some people like to watch the NFL’s biggest event of the year just for the commercials. In fact, data show that 70 percent of people are more likely to pay attention to advertising during the Super Bowl than to ads that appear during their “normal” TV viewing, according to Sandeep Patnaik, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) professor and program chair for the Master of Science in marketing.

Patnaik, the special guest Jan. 31 on Thursday Thoughts with UMUC Chief Academic Officer Alan Drimmer, added that as much as 23 percent of viewers talk about Super Bowl ads on social media. With so much attention garnered by game-day ads, he said it’s tempting for advertisers to spend a significant percentage of their total advertising budgets on this one event. At $5 million per 30-second commercial, the costs compound quickly.

But such spending may be ill-advised, Patnaik said. Though researchers believe that the online buzz leads to more attention, which creates more conversation, which leads to liking … and finally, purchase intention, the path to the “last mile,” purchase behavior, is not clear, Patnaik said.

An active researcher in the area of marketing communications, Patnaik investigated the interactive relationship of social-media conversation and brand television advertising during the 2011 and 2012 Super Bowl championship games in conjunction with fellow researchers Harlan E. Spotts of Western New England University and Scott C. Purvis of G&R Cooperative, LLC.

“In our research, we did see that there was a pretty strong correlation between liking an ad and going ahead and buying [the product],” he said. Still, brands must be consistent—they “must walk the walk and talk the talk”—across multiple channels to optimize success, he said.

Consumers today, most particularly millennials, engage most with brands that reflect their values—and want humor and to be delighted in the process, Patnaik said. During Super Bowl 2019, watch for ads that focus on social responsibility—brewing by wind power—and more emphasis on women.

Watch the interview here.

 More about Sandeep Patnaik

Before joining UMUC, Patnaik was research director at Gallup and Robinson, a leading market research firm affiliated to the Gallup organization. In that role, he was involved in promoting Facial Electromyography techniques (www.facialemg.com) to measure emotional reactions to TV advertisements.

Earlier, Patnaik led research on advertising strategy at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania resulting in publication of the advertising handbook “Persuasive Advertising.”

In his research, he has explored the synergistic relationship between traditional media, such as TV and magazines, and social media, as well as developing strategies on how both could successfully be integrated into marketing campaigns. His current research is focused on marketing strategy—especially on how organizational culture moderates marketing objectives.

Patnaik, who prior to his current role was the program director of UMUC’s MBA Marketing Program, has taught a wide variety of the university’s graduate-level courses in marketing and management. In 2012, he was a recipient of the coveted UMUC Teaching Excellence Award.