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Advertising During The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl has become infamous for the incredible production, stunning atmosphere, sensational musical performances and brilliant advertising. Oh, and there’s some American Football being played as well…

The 53rd edition of the event is right around the corner and as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to take on the New England Patriots, we’re taking a look back at the globally recognised event and the advertising opportunities it presents.

In modern times, the actual sporting event seems to have become an afterthought. Last year at Super Bowl 52, the viewing figures for the event reached 103.4 million across the globe, many of whom were tuning in to watch P!nk sing the national anthem before Justin Timberlake took to the field/stage to deliver a fantastic halftime show.

Naturally, with the enormous number of eyes all on the event, it presents an unmissable opportunity for marketing teams across the world. In recent times, brands have put everything into creating an advertisement to air during the Super Bowl that will steal the show and leave the millions upon millions of viewers talking about their products/services.

The groundbreaking example of this came in the 1980 Super Bowl when Coca-Cola aired their “Mean Joe Greene” ad in which legendary American Football player, ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, limps off the playing field whilst a little boy attempts to initiate a conversation with his idol… and fails. The young fan then asks Greene if he’d “like his Coke”, Greene takes the drink and guzzles it in front of the disheartened young boy. As the boy walks off despondently, Greene throws him his match-worn jersey as Coca-Cola present their slogan at the time; “have a Coke, and a smile”.

The ad was one of the first examples of something going ‘viral’ and became so popular all over the world that it prompted an NBC TV movie based on the commercial. There were various other spin-offs of the ad all over the world including a like-for-like version with iconic footballer Diego Maradona.

Of course, since 1980 the viewing figures have grown incredibly… and so has the price. It is reported by that a 30-second ad slot on the 2018 Super Bowl cost businesses $5million dollars. For brands like Doritos and Pepsi, who booked air time for around 2.5 minutes throughout the event, it proves a costly method of advertising. Nevertheless, the price does guarantee millions of eyes on your brand and big brands are willing to fork out for the privilege. It was reported by Ad Age that the last 52 Super Bowl’s have generated a phenomenal $5.4billion in ad-revenue.

But the question that’s on every marketing teams lips; is Super Bowl advertising worth it?

Obviously, $5million for a 30-second slot is expensive. A 1-minute ad costs $10million just for the air time. Combine this with the actual production of advertisement that needs to be deliberately ambitious and over-the-top to take advantage of the prime time appearance. With this in mind, the cost of the campaign is likely to be in excess of $12million, and this is a big investment to cover.
However, if you get it right, an ad slot during the Super Bowl can be incredibly beneficial both financially and in terms of establishing a brand as a market leader. This has been demonstrated a number of times, no more so than last year with Amazon’s ‘Alexa lost her voice’ spot that was widely regarded as the commercial of the year. After Alexa ‘loses her voice’ several celebrities step up to take over her duties. Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson and Sir Anthony Hopkins were amongst those trying and failing to replicate her services. The result was #AlexaLostherVoice trending worldwide for 2 days after the Super Bowl and over 3 million views recorded on Youtube. The Alexa products sales rocketed throughout 2018 and many would put the enormous success down to the exceptional Super Bowl advertisement.

So, for big brands that have the capital behind them, creating, developing and airing a Super Bowl ad is a fantastic opportunity that, if done correctly, could be completely game-changing for the brand and their products or services.