By Chaitra Somasundar, Staff Writer

After the excitement of the Super Bowl, T-Birds and WP Carey students walked into the Yount Auditorium on Thursday for AD WARS VIII. AD WARS is a session conducted by Prof. Rick Baer to help students critique the ads showcased during the Super Bowl. This session has been taught by him every year for the past 8 years.

“It is all about helping to prepare students to do better in their marketing job interviews. A very frequently asked question usually involves asking the candidate to share their analysis of an ad that they saw recently. So, given the high visibility of the ads for Super Bowl, I thought that it became a great time to mix some academic learning in a workshop setting where students learn how to understand a small part of the basics of marketing communication,” said Prof. Baer when asked about his motivation behind conducting the AD WARS session these many years.

The Ad Wars Session at Yount (photo courtesy of Apoorv Joshi)
The Ad Wars Session at Yount (photo courtesy of Apoorv Joshi)

The session began with participants discussing the advertisements they liked and the ones they remembered. An advertisement one remembers need not necessarily be an effective commercial. To further understand what makes some advertising ideas click, Prof. Baer spoke about the five goals of marketing communication i.e., category needs, brand awareness, brand attitude, brand purchase intention and brand purchase facilitation. We then took a look at the Butterfinger, Jeep and FitBit ads to categorize the goal of these commercials and determine whether it was coherently implemented. We further delved into the six types of advertising messages i.e., superlative, important, believable, memorable, tangible and authentic, after which we proceeded to judge commercials based on these criteria.

“It is very exciting – there is always a great exchange of ideas about ads – each person usually has their own idea about why they like or do not like an ad. Because judging advertising is subjective, I enjoy sharing a way for students to look at advertising in a different light,” said Prof. Baer when asked about his experience.

The Thunderbird Marketing Association organized this session in association with WP Carey. When I asked the TMA President, Niraj Parekh (MGM Candidate ’16), about organizing the session, he said that planning the event and going about fulfilling the various requirements for the AD WARS was well coordinated, quick and easy. He received a lot of help from TSG student advisor Torrey Mann, TSG events chair Swati Ranjan, catering manager of Chartwells Michael, Ian Barnett from WP Carey, and Kimberly Hergenrader (MGM Candidate ’16), Vice-President of the TMA. “TMA wanted to use this event as a catalyst for future joint events between Thunderbird and ASU WP Carey,” said Kim, who was also one of the organizers of the event.

Many students who gave accurate answers during the session received pen drives as rewards. This session helped us to understand a section of marketing that gives more insight into what makes a commercial appealing. The marketing communication vocabulary that we learned in this workshop will surely help us at interviews and jobs.

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