The Super Bowl Ads & Media Literacy
Copyright 2009  Frank W. Baker

Here are some questions you might have your students ponder before the game:

1. What do you know about the Super Bowl game?  Where did you learn it?
2. Why does the game get tremendous media attention every year?
3. What makes advertisers want to put their ads on this once-a-year sporting event?
4. Why does ad time cost $4 million for just one 30-second ad?
5. Who decides what order the ads air during the game?
6. How do advertisers create buzz about their ads, even before the game is broadcast?
7. Create a chart listing the known advertisers and their parent companies.
8. How many ads are for:  alcohol?  dogs? cars?  movies? Why is this so?
9. Which ad(s) are you looking forward to viewing and why?
10. How do advertisers make money from their Super Bowl spots?
11. Might you find ads inside/outside/above the stadium? If so, where? Be on the lookout for
not-so-obvious ads during the broadcast. (Students might want to create a list)

Here are some questions to consider after the game:

1. What ad(s) did you find most entertaining, and why?
(students should be specific and give details here)
2. What ad(s) did you find the most dull, and why?
3. Which ad(s) did you think were most effective, and why?
4. Which ad(s) were you most willing to share (email, tweet about) with a friend?
5. Which ad(s) featured well-known personalities? Why?
6. Which “techniques of persuasion” were used in each ad?
(teachers might want to print out a list and have students match the ads with those on the list)
7. Calculate the total cost to the TV network if each ad costs an estimated $3.5-$4 million.
8. How do Super Bowl advertisers get mileage for their message before and after the game?
9. How many ads did you spot inside the stadium?

Survey classmates, parents, grandparents: ask each to list their 3 favorite ads.
Compare and contrast responses.  Why do some ads appeal to different genders and age groups?

Super Bowl Ads Home Page            Super Bowl Media Literacy Bingo       

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Other questions suggested by Prof. Tom Goodkind: (used with permission)

    Who is the target audience for each of the ads?  Why?  What evidence of this?
    What different age groups are the targets for the ads?  What evidence of this?
    What different ethnic groups are targets for the ads?  What evidence of this?
    Are the ads directed at primarily males or females?  What evidence of this?
    What type of ads dominate the broadcast?  Why?
    Does the proportion of ads that dominate point to any dominant group that is expected
    to watch the Super Bowl?