Is Advertising in the Super Bowl Worth It?

sblogoThe Super Bowl is upon us and the hype is overwhelming. I wish the game was only one week after the Conference Championships because it’s truly too much talk about upcoming game. Kind of like the primaries. Let’s get it on already.

As it relates to advertisers, the question is whether advertising in the Super Bowl is worth it. There are pros and cons as follows:

1. Biggest TV event of the year
2. Advertising is a topic of conversation
3. Can serve as focal point of an integrated marketing program
4. Makes the advertiser appear to be big time (albeit at a BIG cost—see below)

1. Ridiculous cost $5Million per :30 creates a bloated CPM.
2. Creative can get skewered by the media/masses the following day
3. Is an “ego buy” for many

So whether it’s worth it really depends. My smart friends at MayoSeitz Media wrote about advertising in the Super Bowl just a few days ago in a piece in their MayoSeitz Media Monitor called The Golden Super Bowl.

The Golden Super Bowl

It’s back, and bigger, and more expensive, than ever. Super Bowl 50. The Golden Super Bowl. (Glad they ditched the Roman numerals, aren’t you?) As we all know, the Broncos and Panthers will be playing for the title. Will Peyton go out a winner? Will Cam Newton lead the Panthers to their first ever Super Bowl win? We’ll know for sure on Sunday Feb 7 when the game is played in Santa Clara and on CBS nationwide.
One thing we already know, the “Gold” in this Super Bowl is also related to the cost of advertising, a reported $5MM for a :30 commercial on CBS, an all time record. But the Super Bowl was not always as big an event.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the big game, here’s some Super Bowl history worth remembering:

1. The first “Super Bowl” was played on January 15, 1967 featuring the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers against the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Historians will remind us that the two rival leagues had not merged as yet and would not do so until after the third Super Bowl. Green Bay, led by legendary Coach Vince Lombardi, easily won by a score of 35-10. Al Hirt was the halftime talent. Interestingly the NFL Network recently was able to piece together the original broadcast. KC actually hung in during the first half until the packers pulled ahead in the second half.

2. The first “Super Bowl” wasn’t even “super”. It was merely called the AFL-NFL World Championship game and was played at a neutral site, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

It was not sold out, despite modest ticket prices ($12) and a local TV blackout. The term “Super Bowl” was an off handed comment made by Chiefs owner, Lamar Hunt based on his granddaughter’s love of the “super ball” toy. The Super Bowl name stuck and it took on the official name after the third game.

3. The first game was broadcast on two networks, CBS, which carried NFL games, and NBC, which carried AFL games.

CBS charged $85,000 for a 60 second commercial, NBC charged $75,000. The game achieved a combined 41 household rating with 51 million viewers.

This year’s advertisers will be paying up to $5 million for each 30 second commercial, more than $166,600 per second, which more than a full :30 on both CBS and NBC’s broadcast.

As we approach Super Bowl 50, the line-up of advertisers forking over $5MM per :30 (with many buying multiple spots) is long. Advertisers include many mega brands and some not so well known ones as follows:

Pokemon (yeah, that’s right)
Bud Light
Mountain Dew
Shock Top
Michelob Ultra
Taco Bell
Avocados from Mexico
Turbo Tax
Sun Trust

If you want a sneak peak of the TV spots, check out Super Bowl Commericals 2016

Will these dollars be spent wisely? It depends. It depends on the power and creativity of the message and, just as importantly, the buzz around it. We’ll be watching. Will you?

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