The big day for American Football lovers is almost here, the Super Bowl. Each year, millions of people gather to watch the National Football League Championship and cheer on their favourite team to win. Over the years, the commercials during the Super Bowl have been almost as popular as the spectacle itself. It’s one of the few televised events where viewers are genuinely focused on the advertisements nearly as much as the sport and as a result, advertising during the Super Bowl is incredibly expensive.
The first Super Bowl took place in 1967 and attracted over 50 million people to watch live. Since then, viewership has grown and doubled over the last 50 years. 2015 saw the highest peak of viewership with over 114 million tuning in to watch the game (and commercials!).
Fox network, who are broadcasting the game this year is charging brands as much as $5.6 million to run a 30-second air time ad which is a 6% increase from the previous year. Keeping in mind that the Super Bowl viewership saw its lowest in 2019 in 11 years with 98 million people tuning in to watch the battle between New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams finals. The decline in NFL ratings will make brands question the true value of advertising during the big game: Are Super Bowl Ads still worth the money?
For mega-brands, with big advertising budgets and products that are relevant to the demographics of the Super Bowl, the decision to advertise on the big day makes perfect sense. Beer brands, automobile manufacturers and new movie releases are heavily promoted during the game in order to make the most out of the big viewership. The ads shown during the big day are generally not trying to make you buy their product at that exact moment but more of brand awareness.
Social video views
Social media plays a role in taking fans away from live TV during commercials on one hand as people reach for the mobiles to catch up on punditry and game analysis online. On the other hand, the iconic Superbowl commercials are shared on social and searched for online in the days after the event. Compilations videos put together after weekend also clock up millions of view. The one below has nearly 5 million views. While TV viewers are falling, online views may well make up for this.
Let’s not forget that it can cost more than $5 million for airtime. Brands will need to consider the other factors such as time and money spent on planning and producing the ad, paying the celebrity (if involved) and the possible negative reviews it will face after airing.
As singer Jessie J says, “it’s not about the money” but not all brands have the marketing budget to splurge $5 million dollars for a quick 30 second air time during the big Super Bowl game. Running a Super Bowl spot may be a tradition for many brands, and badge of honour for new brands that have made it big. However they may not deliver all the real-world results they’re looking for unless their ad is ground breaking and resonates with consumers on a level than really drives brand interest.