The Super Bowl: Television’s Biggest Event

There are several events throughout the year that attract television viewers in big numbers. The Oscars, Golden Globes, World Series, and Grammy Awards are just a few of the events hosted for our entertainment.

With so many individuals watching these televised events, it’s only natural for advertisers to think, “I need to get our brand in front of these people.” The first week of February provides no bigger stage for advertisers than the NFL’s Super Bowl. With Super Bowl 53 just one week away, let’s take a look at the numbers to see why this event is the king of them all.

Dating all the way back to the 60’s, companies have been rationing their advertising budgets to save enough money to for a single commercial spot during the big game. The event in 2016, Super Bowl 50 and Peyton Manning’s last game, averaged 111.9 million viewers with a peak of 115.5 million during the halftime show. And these numbers don’t include out-of-home viewing or internet streams which were made widely available.

Over the 52 years that the game has been held, a total of $5.2 billion has been spent on advertising. To paint a more clear picture of just how these spots have evolved, let’s explore the prices networks have charged over the years.

In 1984, Apple ran their iconic commercial “1984” during Super Bowl 18, which at the time, cost the company $383,000 per 30-second spot (it was a 60-second commercial). After receiving almost as much attention as the game itself, the success of this television ad spiked a frenzy that it is now a competition amongst companies to air the best ad of the night.

Fast-forward to the year 2000 for Super Bowl 34 and the cost of that same 30-second spot reached over $2 million. Now once more, skip ahead to the 2018 season and the average cost to run a 30-second ad in Super Bowl 52 was $5 million. $5 million! For 30 seconds!

As a consumer, you see the $5 million price tag on a 30-second commercial and have to think to yourself, “How on earth is that possibly worth it?” According to the experts, advertising during the Super Bowl has its pros and cons.

Todd Alchin, chief creative strategist and partner for creative media agency Noble People points out, “If you said to a marketing director or CEO, ‘We’re going to talk to your customers this year for exactly half a minute. Then we’re going to do nothing until maybe next year,’ you’re betting a lot that everything fires perfectly in that 30 seconds. It’s also important to remember that all the advertisers involved are putting their best foot forward during the Super Bowl, which means it’s less likely for your brand to stand out.”

At the same time, this event is like no other. The game provides “massive reach in a cluttered world where there is diminished scale,” explains research firm MoffettNathanson partner Michael Nathanson. “It’s even more valuable.”

In recent years a new aspect has been added to advertising during the Super Bowl, which is the ability to digitally advertise before and after the game. This addition allows advertisers to utilize television to drive people to digital, ultimately using digital platforms to help gather insight on potential customers.

After 50 plus years of hosting the Super Bowl, there have been several commercials dubbed the greatest of all-time, resonating with us still years and years later. So, what commercial is your “G.O.A.T”?