Why Super Bowl Advertising is a Great Move

Super Bowl ads are something that many anxiously await a year for, just to see what Budweiser  Coors, or Doritos have come up with. There’s much more to this than companies having a little fun, shooting a comical commercial, and getting a few laughs out of Super Bowl viewers every year– it’s the price of nearly $4,000,000 per 30 seconds of airtime!

The Super Bowl, the most watched television event, every year, without fail, has become a noteworthy marketing opportunity for many corporations, granted they can catch a viewer’s eye. Whether it be through humor, tear-jerking, or celebrity appearances, companies go all-out to ensure that the millions of dollars they put forth are put to good measure, coming back to them in the form of product sales and publicity.

The cost of running a Super Bowl commercial may seem steep, but when we take a look at the steady increase in the game’s viewership, even in the last decade, it’s pretty apparent that publicity is not too hard to generate–if you can afford it. In the last ten years, since 2003, Super Bowl viewers have climbed from 88.6 million to 108 million people, on average (based on various online sources for each year). This should come as no surprise, when considering that the span of telecommunications has widened, as well as the United States’ population, and the quality of these commercials, making them (at times) be more or a ritual than the football game, itself.

Advertising via the Super Bowl’s commercial airtime slots come at a high cash value, but not necessarily a high price, when considering the information above. If we create a ratio, which we can call the “cost per viewer,” we can actually see that, when we take into consideration the number of people an advertisement can reach, a high premium on any given commercial isn’t so expensive, after all.

Take, for example, a  run-of-the-mill 30 second long advertisement for a product that hasn’t had a large amount of coverage, lately. To implant in a viewer’s mind that your product even exists is a monumental step in the right decision. If you can reach 108 million people (roughly the viewership of this past Super Bowl XLVII) by spending $4 million, you’re really spending $0.037, (or about four cents) to reach each viewer. Positioning, the marketing term that refers to the creation of an image and a background for a product in a consumer’s mind, then takes over, leaving the purchase to the consumer.

As if the per-viewer cost wasn’t incentive enough, a large trend that has been developing lately is the viral sharing of commercials on YouTube, leaving even more viewers (upwards of additional millions) exposed to a company’s advertising, free of charge. Publicity really does feed back on itself, and companies that realize this are starting to cash-in!

To put this into a little more perspective for readers, I compiled a simple line graph (with data provided by Statista.com) to show each year in the last decade’s Super Bowl viewer statistics and the total ad revenue that was generated through that given Super Bowl. Clearly, over time, as the Super Bowl viewership grew, the ad revenue did as well. Investing time, money, and even a cheesy commercial into the mega-event can yield great long-run success.

As you can see, despite fluctuations in the number of people who watch the Super Bowl, marketers continue to take the chance of spending large amounts of money to advertise during it, knowing its per-viewer and free publicity savings.

As you can see, despite fluctuations in the number of people who watch the Super Bowl, marketers continue to take the chance of spending large amounts of money to advertise during it, knowing its per-viewer and free publicity savings.

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