Is a Super Bowl Ad worth $4 million?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.
The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl spot has exceeded $3 million in the past couple of years and is expected to hit $4 million this year. Recent surveys suggests that the ads are as big a draw as the game itself, but some other pieces of research looking at advertising effectiveness, online sharing, and brand rankings are questioning their effectiveness as a purchase driver.
NRF projects that 181 million Americans will watch the game this year. What should be enticing to advertisers is Kantar Media’s finding regarding last year’s game was that tune-out during the average commercial was just 0.7 percent, several times smaller than the average 3-4 percent for regular programming. In fact, Kantar says that last year, the average Super Bowl commercial had an audience size that was 1.6 percent bigger than the average audience for the game.
That tallies with survey results from VB&P, which found that 78 percent of respondents would prefer to watch the Super Bowl with, rather than without, commercials.
Also encouraging for advertisers is Nielsen’s findings that from 2003 through 2013, viewership grew from 43.4 million to 53 million TV homes, while the percentage of households viewing the game making more than $100,000 per year concurrently grew from 14 percent to 26.8 percent. In other words, more than one in four households that watched the Super Bowl last year had incomes of more than $100,000.
Interestingly, while Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Super Bowl ad sales have outgrown viewership in the past few decades, the advertising cost of $35 per thousand viewers last year was actually in line with other prime-time TV programs.
But a number of findings question the value of Super Bowl advertising:
- A study from Communicus suggests that only one in five Super Bowl ads sell products, with the ads more likely to generate awareness than to persuade viewers to actually buy.
- VB&P’s survey indicates that one-quarter of respondents would be more interested in buying a product after seeing it advertised during the Super Bowl, while 15 percent of respondents claimed they would buy something while watching the game.
- According to the NRF survey, almost eight in 10 respondents view the commercials as entertainment, with far fewer indicating that they make them aware of advertiser brands (16.9 percent), influence them to buy products from the advertisers (8.6 percent), or influence them to search online for more information (eight percent).
- Super Bowl 2014 Ads: Facts and Figures – MarketingCharts
- Super Bowl ad price hits record $4 million – CNN
- Super Bowl Wins With Super-Sized Wallets – Nielsen
- Kantar Media Reports The Super Bowl Scores With Over $2 Billion In Ad Spending Over The Past Ten Years – Kantar Media
- February 2, 2014: A Great Day To Spend $4 Million – VB&P
- Super Bowl Ad Insanity Explained in Six Charts – Bloomberg Businessweek
- Only 1 in 5 Super Bowl Ads Actually Sells Products – Communicus
Is a Super Bowl ad worth $4 million? What is the most valuable aspect of a Super Bowl ad? Do they work better for established brands looking to build awareness or for newer brands and product launches?