SuperBowl commercials attract a media frenzy like no other public event does. Over the last couple of years, the media, companies and the public alike have increasingly focused on commercials shown during the SuperBowl. Dedicated websites, pre-SuperBowl commercial previews and an “who is who” hiring of actors and celebrities to star in SuperBowl commercials tops all what has previously been done.
While the overall spending on SuperBowl commercials has almost doubled since the year 2000, some maintain an also increasing recall effect and thus heightened brand awareness during the SuperBowl. According to Nielsen, ads that aired during 2011′s Super Bowl XLV were, on average, 58 percent more memorable than commercials airing during regular programming in the first quarter of 2011. In addition, brand awareness for commercials airing during the Super Bowl was up to 275 percent higher than awareness for the same creative during regular programming.
Yet does this justify the advertising expenditures? If one assume an average SuperBowl ad-time of 30 seconds to cost anything from $3.7 million to $4.0 million in 2014, plus an additional up to $2million in production costs for roughly 60 seconds of ad material, companies are spending easily >$6 million if we do not account for any other advertising or media spending (e.g. pre-SuperBowl Ad-display, Display & banner campaigns, mailings, pre-TV screenings etc…). As it has been reported, some companies like CareerBuilder and Teleflora spent more than 30% of their full year ad budget on the SuperBowl (2012 figures). The question “Is it worth it?” however remains – particularly if one looks at the nearly $2 billion in advertising costs that have been spent on SuperBowl ads over the last couple of years. Money that could have been invested in big data (smart data if you ask me) driven behavioural marketing systems.
The Wall Street Journal’s SuperBowl Infographic, provides an interesting view on sectors and ad spending. Interesting to see is the increase of Automotive Ad-Spending, particularly after the Automotive crisis in 08/09.
Depending on which report to follow, the SuperBowl ad-frenzy is a merely attributed to organisations following patterns of uniformity. Agency’s do obviously have a high stake in this game and incur much of their yearly income during the SuperBowl hype, yet a smart marketer might need to rightfully ask, is this money spent on ads at the SuperBowl bringing in the highest return I could get for my $ or have I fallen prey to mass media and irrationality in ad-spending myself? Some issues I found with the most “widely” claimed campaigns were that mobile integration was poor or non-existing and omnichannel integration seemed mostly to be focused on YouTube ad-previews.
I am sure we are going to see another SuperBowl advertising hype in 2015, spending will of course increase and everybody will fight for the very top spot, the best ad, the most earned media reach and won awards (let’s do not forget the agency side). I just hope some organisations take a closer look at their ad-spending (as most should with their exhibition spending) to examine the ROI (contrast here the CMI 2014 data on the difficulty of marketers to determine their marketing ROI) to assure marketing is not only seen as the guys producing colourful pictures but as one of only two basic organisational functions (Peter Drucker).