Why Are Super Bowl Ads So Expensive?

Super Bowl LVI brought a lot of firsts in American history. It was the first time Matthew Stafford got a Super Bowl ring, the first time the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals have competed in a championship game, and finally, the first time a single Super Bowl advertisement has cost upwards of 6.5 million dollars.

For decades, the Super Bowl has been a cultural event that millions around the country have tuned in for. The attention of sports and non-sports fans alike being glued to the television makes the football game a perfect opportunity for companies to promote their services.

Advertisers pull out all of the stops for their Super Bowl commercials, filling them with comedy, celebrity cameos, and excellent writing. Viewers have found a love for these commercials and even developed a celebratory event where they decide which commercial was best. Starting from thousands of dollars, 15-second Super Bowl ads now cost millions. However, with streaming services and DVR now commonly used in households, are Super Bowl commercials still worth paying for?

The Cost of Super Bowl Advertisements

It’s estimated that Super Bowl 56 captured the attention of close to 100 million viewers. That number is a drastic difference from the original Super Bowl in 1967 that drew around 50 million viewers. As the viewership rose, so did the cost of the advertisements. A 30-second commercial was priced around $40,000 in 1967 and gradually increased into the millions throughout the decades.

There were steady cost increases each year; however, nothing like what we have seen between 2021 and 2022. Last year, a 30-second ad cost 5.5 million dollars. This year, the cost of a 30-second ad increased by a million dollars to around $6.5 million. It’s clear that advertisers have been willing to pay a hefty amount for a Super Bowl ad, but are they still effective in strategy today?

Why Super Bowl Advertisements Are Still Effective

Historically, Super Bowl commercials have been extremely effective for companies to build brand awareness and improve brand perception. However, things are not the way they used to be in the 2000s. Super Bowl commercials are regularly released and trending on YouTube days before the game airs. Even if you miss the commercials, you can easily find the best of them online afterward. So what makes Super Bowl commercials worth paying millions for today?

In today’s age, Super Bowl commercials are actually more valuable than in the past. Because of streaming, the internet, and DVR, audiences are going out of their way to avoid watching advertisements entirely. Viewers are even willing to pay extra to make sure no advertisements disrupt their entertainment programs.

Basically, ads are getting watched less and advertisers have been forced to get more creative about how they reach audiences. However, the Super Bowl is one of the only times where audiences not only watch advertisements but also celebrate them. Advertisers are prepared to pay a huge amount to have nearly 100 million viewers’ undivided attention. With only 30-seconds, advertisers can do a lot to leave a tremendous impression on millions of viewers.

Super Bowl Advertisement Successes

The objective of most marketing campaigns is to get a prospective customer to take the desired action. However, for commercials, persuading people to act in only 30 seconds or less may be difficult. Coinbase came up with an ingenious advertisement for Super Bowl LVI that prompted many viewers to sign up for an account on their website. Coinbase’s 2022 Super Bowl ad simply put a QR code on screen for 30-seconds that led to a signup page on their website. The ad was so effective it crashed their website within minutes.

GoDaddy is a more controversial example of success. They were largely unknown in 2005 and quickly developed a reputation of pushing the envelope by airing many racy commercials with actors dressed in skimpy clothing. The web domain registrar company had many controversies and made many headlines, but they also made their brand well-known throughout the country. Now, GoDaddy rarely airs commercials during the Super Bowl. The brand’s advertising campaigns arguably proved that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Apple’s “1984” commercial may be one of the best advertisements of all time. Not only is it highly creative, but it’s also extremely memorable. The ad aired during Super Bowl XVIII only once and generated more buzz than any advertisement had before. The one-minute ad established Apple as creative, unique, and different from all of the other competitors. Macintosh computers were being sold at an alarming rate when they were released on January 24th, 1984.

Super Bowl Ads Are Even More Important Now

With legendary classics like Apple’s 1984 commercial and the entertaining Doritos commercials, the standards for Super Bowl ads are high. The ads should promote your company but they should also be uniquely entertaining. There are different ways that an ad can be effective, but ultimately the different and creative ads are the ones that stand the test of time.

Emily Davis

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