The average cost of a Super Bowl commercial for the 2013 event runs about $3.8 million, and some prime spots run as high as $4 million. At first glance, some analysts might feel the rates prove impractical in an advertising industry that increasingly splits the market, giving televised events smaller market shares. Consumers routinely record television shows and fast forward past the commercials, and many viewers watch their favorite programs online with personal computers and mobile devices.
Super Bowl Advertising Takes Center Stage
The annual game between the American Football League and National Football League champions generates great attention on the creative commercials that companies increasingly use to market new products and introduce fresh advertising campaigns. In 2012, the Darth Vader barking-dog spot generated over $100 million in publicity and revenue, which makes the $3.5-million cost of the 30-second commercial a bargain. No single televised event offers companies better chances to capture an attentive audience than the Super Bowl forum.
People share their Super Bowl thoughts and feelings on social media websites and participate in celebratory parties. Unlike the rest of the year, consumers actually enjoy the creative commercials advertisers present, and about a third of the viewers tune-in just to view the annual parade of eclectic commercials. The idea of emphasizing commercials during the Super Bowl has proven to be a master marketing strategy for both advertisers and viewers who want to enjoy the extravaganza but have little interest in the game.
Growth of the Advertising Phenomenon
Regardless of commitment to the sport or teams that fail to make the cut, everyone can enjoy the quirky commercials. NFL teams have few chances to make it all the way to the final showdown, and advertisers have fewer opportunities to reach, engage and convert consumers in single advertising spots. Successful commercials that capture the public’s imagination receive astonishing publicity benefits from media sources that are obsessed with the Super Bowl advertising phenomenon.
Companies traditionally kept their commercials top secret, but to generate greater social media participation, many advertisers have begun airing their commercials or teasers online before the game. The Super Bowl brings people together for a communal experience, so people watch the show live instead of using DVRs and skipping the ads. Word-of-mouth discussions, YouTube referrals and media attention could strengthen a commercial’s impact.
- Companies spent over $2.5 billion for Super Bowl Advertising in the past decade.
- During the game, 42 percent of social media conversations discuss the commercials instead of the game.
- The cost of a 30-second spot averaged $0.03 per viewer in 2012.
- Top advertisers include automotive companies and food and beverage manufacturers.
- Only a few highly competitive industries target consumers through Super Bowl commercials regularly, so some companies advertise just to keep up with their competitors.
The Super Bowl Practices and Standards authority bans certain kinds of commercials that are unsuitable for families, so some advertisers resort to ambush marketing by running commercials online and suggesting these spots were banned by the Super Bowl. Many of these spots gain viral referral successes. Some companies simply cannot afford the prices, despite low costs-per-thousand of $27, which compares to an average CPM of $35 for hit television shows.
The following table shows how Super Bowl commercial prices have risen in the past decade. In 1995, a 30-second spot only cost $1 million, but the price has increased by an average of 5.7 percent for the last 14 years.
|Year||Cost in Millions||Percentage of Change|
The 2013 Super Bowl XLVII
The 2013 event takes place in New Orleans on February 4th, and CBS has the broadcast rights. The available spots have already sold, and 30-second spots went for $3.8 million each. Industry analysts expect prices to increase at higher rates than 5.7 percent in the future, probably doubling within 10 years. The Super Bowl viewing audience has increased by 4.7 percent annually, and 2012 marked the third year that the event hit all-time viewership records.
New Orleans hosts the game for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, so the city’s recovery could easily generate a fourth record-breaking year for viewers and advertisers. The risks of spending nearly $4 million for a 30-second commercial are certainly not for the timid, but risk takers could reap amazing rewards when introducing new products or generating media buzz for old favorites.