It happens every year. Once we know who’s playing in the Super Bowl the marketing and media industries turn their attention to the value of advertising on the big game. Of course, with a record price of $5 million per ad this year, it’s a natural topic to discuss… Is the Super Bowl a good value?
It depends largely on what you’re advertising and the status of your brand.
First, it’s important to remember that over half of all people who watch the Super Bowl report to enjoying the ads more than the game. It’s hard to imagine that statistic being true for any other televised event.
So we have an ad-engaged audience expecting great ads.
Second, we have two teams that draw large audiences. Both are from top 10 DMAs. And each has a strong fan base and rich storylines that accompany each team.
So we have two teams that should pull strong interest.
Super Bowl viewership peaked at 114.4 million viewers in 2015 but the last two years have landed at 111 million. No doubt the NFL doesn’t like the decline but even if this game lands at the levels of the last two years that’s still the largest single-moment mass audience possible in America. And when you analyze cost per thousand viewers (CPM) the Super Bowl is often more competitive than a typical hit TV show. (Although it’s higher than most online media.)
So we have a media buy that can make sense if the budget is available.
Which brings us to the three reasons why a brand might consider advertising during the game.
Reason #1: It’s a new product that many people can find value in.
The key is “new.” The advertiser is largely saying, “hello.” After all, the history of Super Bowl-Advertising-As-Event started with Apple Computer launching Macintosh; something that was new and relevant to the mass audience at the time.
The Super Bowl is an excellent stage for a mass product launch. And it serves as a great tent pole to place online advertising around. This Monster.com ad is still a favorite and a great example of Reason #1.
Reason #2: It’s an established brand that has an important message to say.
The key is “important.” After the game, many of the commercials panned as lame may not have fully embraced the fact that the Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the year. If the core message isn’t perceived as important enough to be worthy of that environment, there’s a high risk the audience won’t like it.
This is a tough one to do well, but Master Lock in ’74 and Budweiser (again) in ’02 come to mind.
Reason #3: It’s a household brand name that wants to expand the way we think about them.
This is primarily reserved for products that show well when we’re in our football-watching mindset. Products that are social, fun and enjoyable for many. Brands like McDonald’s and Coke have executed well here. And a favorite has long been Tabasco’s appearance.
Super Bowl ads always capture the interest of the country—and 2018 is no different.