The typical rant about Super Bowl ads goes, "They cost how much? Do those ads even sell anything? Hey, remember those 'Whassssupppp' ads?" First of all, stop saying "Wasssupp." Second of all, the "This is all a huge waste of money" position may be correct.

Jack Neff in Ad Age reports on the latest study, from ad research firm Communicus, about the futility of advertising—in this case, about Super Bowl television advertising. The study "suggests 80% of the [Super Bowl] ads don't sell stuff." For added laughs, this is well above the 60% of normal ads that do not sell stuff, even though Super Bowl ads are far more expensive than any other ads. But why?

Super Bowl ads actually do better than average in ad awareness, with 44% of people remembering they've seen an average Super Bowl ad vs. 32% for other ads that get similar gross-rating-point exposure, Ms. Smith said. But because the creative often focuses less on the brands, she said, people not surprisingly remember the brands less often in Super Bowl ads. People who remember seeing a Super Bowl ad recall the brand 35% of the time vs. about half the time for other ads, she said.

Branding, awareness, consumer penetration, halo effect, and other advertising buzzwords arranged in a plausible order go here. The Super Bowl will sell out all of its ad space this year, as always.