Amazon with its #BeforeAlexa ad is a big winner in the 16th Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review.
Other brands with top marks include Facebook, Cheetos, Hyundai, T-Mobile and Google.
Not all advertisers had winning spots. Pringles, Squarespace and Hard Rock received low grades for less effective advertising.
"Amazon is the winning ad this year with its #BeforeAlexa spot because it took advantage of a celebrity with engaging creative to communicate what was really a product demonstration," says Derek D. Rucker, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The 90-second ad with Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi shows life without the voice assistant Alexa.
On the downside, Rucker says Hard Rock missed the mark by cramming in too many celebrities.
"Our panel didn't understand what it was for until too late," he says.
An overarching trend this year was that many brands leveraged more serious messages, including Kia, New York Life, Google and Michael Bloomberg.
"A number of ads on the Super Bowl this year had a more serious tone, from Google to Kia to New York Life. This perhaps reflects the mood of the country," said Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing who leads the Ad Review.
The Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review uses a strategic academic framework known as ADPLAN to evaluate the effectiveness of Super Bowl spots. The acronym instructs viewers to grade ads based on Attention, Distinction, Positioning, Linkage, Amplification and Net Equity.
The full rankings are HERE
Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org