Superbowl Advertising, What is the Cost and the Result?

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Superbowl Advertising is big money business,  just 30 seconds  of air time costs an astonishing $5 million  or more. There are also additional cost for production and promotion.  It can be hard to imagine why companies are willing to pay so much money for so little time. When the return is more about brand recognition and not really so much about sales.

The cost of a 30 second spot has risen  76% from 2006-2015. While there is some fluctuation in cost per spot in relation to when the ad airs during the game, if they are willing to purchase multiple spots, and multi year sponsorship rates, the price for Superbowl advertising is obviously steep. In 2011 Chrysler even paid $12.4 million to run it’s 2 minute long “imported from Detroit commercial” that featured Rapper Eminem.  That is not even including the cost to get Mr Mather’s to appear! This is all  for the opportunity to be seen during the most heavily watched show of the year. It can easily cost an advertiser several hundred thousand dollars to create their Superbowl masterpieces. Hiring celebrities, special effects and licensing rights for the perfect track ad up, right? Along with that also comes additional promotion fees which typically end up around a million dollars.

During the 2016 Superbowl there was a recorded 112 million television viewer in 2016 compared to a record number 115 million  in 2015. This year about 16% of U.S. fans  are expected  to watch  the Superbowl  via live-streaming video apps or the web an additional 2%  on mobile and another 7% expect to watch the game in a bar.

With a price tag that high you might think that the return  on Superbowl advertising would be astronomical as well. I mean it has to be for people to spend that kind of money right ?  Yes and no.  Its more of what advertisers refer to as a Brand lift, or increased recognition of what your company does and sells.  For other companies like Coke  and Budwiesier that run every year, it’s more about not being out down by their competition.

“The average “brand lift,” defined as whether viewers would recognize advertisers more after their first Super Bowl ad, was 12.7%. ( fortune) But this varies. It could be higher or Lower . Among the companies that were measured in the 2015  Superbowl the brand recognition boost varied between -5.1 % to as high as 36.5%.  Brand Lifts for large brand names like Coke and Budwisers that advertise yearly actually end up only receiving a very small rise in recognition.( Coke  (KO, +0.46%) and Budweiser (BUD, +0.01%) )

Over the last several years advertisers have increasingly begun releasing their commercials ahead of the super bowl  so that viewers can watch and share them online. Social media Mentions and media shares are definitely part of the expectation in 2015 Hyundai received 18,555 from Jan 29-Feb 5.

For Advertisers with a smaller budget that are looking to capture the allure of the big Game, there are print options like USA Today, And USA Today Sports Weekly that draw huge crowds ( 119 million  monthly in both print and online )  for only a fraction of the budget. That also feature special editions around the big game.


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