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NIDA. (2012, February 24). Super Bowl Commercials: Which Do You Remember?. Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
February 24 2012

Each year, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl are particularly memorable. They ought to be! Did you know that 30 seconds of ad time during the 2012 Super Bowl cost approximately $3.5 million? Most of us will never see that amount of money in a lifetime—let alone in half of a minute!

The Drug Free Action Alliance surveyed approximately 40,000 6th–12th grade students in 42 states to find out which commercials shown during the game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots were their favorites, as well as which commercials they could best remember.

Cheesy Chips and Dancing M&Ms

Commercials advertising snack foods fared well in the “favorites” category. Both middle and high school students ranked M&Ms and Doritos ads as their top three picks.

More concerning than processed cheese and sugar-coated chocolate: Both groups also ranked a Bud Light commercial as their next favorite. Not surprisingly, high school students ranked Bud Light commercials in second place as those they could remember the best. For middle school students, Bud Light ranked third for being remembered the best.

Stay Media Savvy

What does this survey tell us? It indicates that teens remember advertising about snacks and alcohol, and that these ads are clearly appealing to the teen audience. They often feature humor and animals, as one of the year’s Bud Light commercials did—depicting a rescue dog fetching beers for his owner and other partygoers.

As SBB reminded you after the 2011 Super Bowl, every commercial is trying to sell you something, whether an actual product or an idea. As viewers, we need to stay alert to media messages so we don’t get hijacked by a media blitz. Whenever you see a commercial, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the purpose of the ad—who created the message and why?
  • What words, images, or sounds are used to make the message appealing?
  • How does the message make me feel?

Now you tell us: What Super Bowl commercials do you remember most, and what do you think their intended messages were?