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Montclair SCM Students Selected by USA Today to Rank Super Bowl Ads

Posted in: School of Communication and Media News

Students in two rows, some sitting and others standing, smiling and looking relaxed.
Students in Professor Mary Scott's Sports Sponsorship class are ranking this year's Super Bowl ads as part of USA Today's annual competition.

Students in Professor Mary Scott’s Sports Sponsorship and Promotions class are participating in USA Today’s Ad Meter competition which gauges public sentiment around Super Bowl commercials. Professor Scott’s students are part of a prestigious group, as students at only four other sports communication, advertising or marketing programs at universities across the country were selected to participate.

The 36th annual contest is the industry’s leading opinion tool for gauging public sentiment around Super Bowl ads and Montclair’s students are excited about the opportunity. During class this week, students previewed some of the commercials scheduled to air during the “Big Game,” as brands release their spots in advance or teasers of the commercials to drive earned media opportunities and online discussion.

“It’s fun to see creativity from all the brands, knowing one day we may have the opportunity to step in the shoes of the people responsible for the commercials and campaigns,” said Cameryn Martin, who is majoring in Sports Communication with a minor in Sports Culture. “It’s inspiring and insightful to see what happens behind the behind the scenes as we consume other content related to the commercials.”

Professor Scott reinforces to her students that the investments companies make for their Super Bowl commercials go beyond the multi-million-dollar cost of buying the ad time from the network airing or streaming the game, which this year is CBS. She told the New York Times earlier this week in this article, “You are not just paying for that 30-second spot, it’s a four-to-six week buzz that you’re creating.”

Some of the students already have favorite ads. “The Budweiser ad (featuring the nostalgia of the Clydesdales, a cute dog and some great 60’s music) stood out to me because it it is so emotional,” said senior Sports Communication major Emily Sznurkowski. “And I like what Etsy did because a lot of people might not know what it is and they don’t make many ads. I don’t want to call them a smaller brand, but the exposure for them will drive traffic to their site or people will Google them.”

For junior Sports Communication major Daniel Amoia, participating in the competition is part of an overall enriching experience in the program and School of Communication and Media. “It’s fun to be part of this competition and to be invited to participate with only a few other schools. Most people don’t realize how much goes into the business side of sports. To learn in this class and others like Sports PR about the different avenues brands take for their campaigns is fun and interesting.”

“I’ve done a lot of different things in the program, a lot of hands-on filming editing and I took the Sports PR class with Professor Scott last semester which opened my eyes to the different techniques brands use,” said junior Sports Communications major Alex Daly. “It’s interesting to learn why brands work with certain celebrities for their commercials and what their overall strategies are beyond the Super Bowl ads.”

Through Monday, February 12 at 1 a.m. EST, each student will rate all Ad Meter-eligible Super Bowl advertisements. The 2024 Super Bowl Ad Meter winner will be announced live on CBS Mornings and at the morning of February 12. Since 1989, USA TODAY Ad Meter continues to have significant impact across the advertising landscape, recognizing the intersection of sports, entertainment and pop culture on Super Bowl Sunday. In true Super Bowl fashion and staying “on brand” with the game, the competition has its own sponsors. This year the competition is supported by H&R Block, Kia and State Farm. 

Story by Keith Green, School of Communication and Media


About the School of Communication and Media: Founded in 2012, the School of Communication and Media offers a range of dynamic programs in communication and media to a talented and diverse student population of over 1,800. Offering degrees in film and television, social media and public relations, advertising, journalism and digital media, sports communication, communication and media studies, animation and visual effects, and an MA in public and organizational relations, the School prepares the next generation of communication and media practitioners and leaders. The School houses award-winning student programs that include WMSC RadioThe Montclarion newspaper, Hawk Communications Agency, the Red Hawk Sports NetworkHawk+ OTT streaming platform, and News Lab, as well as the Center for Cooperative Media, which serves the public by working to grow and strengthen local journalism. Student projects and programs have recently received national recognition from PRSSA’s Bateman Competition, an Edward R Murrow Award, several Marconi Award nominations, and a College Television Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.