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The Super Bowl television broadcast is the premier sports viewing spectacle each year. Although large sums of advertising dollars are spent on the production and placement of Super Bowl advertisements, little is known about the content of these advertisements and the level of affect associated with various aspects of the content of Super Bowl advertisements. This study explores the content of commercials shown during the 1996-2002 Super Bowls and uses USA Today Ad Meter scores as a dependent variable. Content analysis is used to analyze the data along with follow-up analyses investigating the relationships among advertising content and affect toward the advertisement. The findings suggest that higher levels of affect are associated with advertising goods rather than services in Super Bowl advertisements, and strategies include the following: using emotional appeals, avoiding straight announcements as a message format, including animals, and not making quality claims.
Kelley is with the University of Kentucky, Gatton College of Business and Economics, Lexington, KY 40506-0034. Turley (deceased) was with Western Kentucky University, Gordon Ford College of Business, Bowling Green, KY.