UT Professor Available to Comment on the Psychological Effectiveness of Super Bowl Advertisements

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 General News J E 4
Thirty-second Super Bowl ad slots are reportedly going for $3 million this year, but is all that money worth it? According to Dr. Stephen Blessing, assistant professor of psychology at The University of Tampa, the commercials are not always as effective as they could be.

In a study, Blessing and Dr. Lisa Haverty, owner of the Boston advertising consulting firm Brain on Brand, used a method they call CogScore to scientifically predict which commercials shown during Super Bowl XL (2006) viewers would best remember.

A year after the big game, Blessing surveyed a group of undergraduates about what they remembered of the ads. He found that viewers seldom made a definitive connection between the commercials and the product being sold. While an advertisement may be particularly funny or strike some other emotional chord, viewers frequently misidentified the exact product that each ad was promoting, or the specific brand.

So what makes for an effective ad?

"Advertisers need to link their product to the viewer's existing memory structures, as well as promote new links, if viewers are going to be influenced toward purchasing the marketed product," Blessing says.

Blessing and Haverty are following up their first results with a study based on the commercials from last year's Super Bowl XLII (the Giants versus the Patriots). Initial findings are similar to the past study: the CogScore model effectively predicts which brands people will remember.

A specialist in cognitive psychology, Dr. Blessing's research focuses on how people learn from examples and how problem solvers begin skipping steps.

Blessing is available for comment at or (813) 257-3461.

CONTACT: Dr. Stephen Blessing of University of Tampa,, +1-813-257-3461

/PRNewswire-USNewswire - Jan. 20/

SOURCE The University of Tampa


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