The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the year, and not just for NFL players. Last years’ Super Bowl, according to CNN, broke record as the most watched broadcast in US history. Given that 114.4 million people viewed it live on TV and another 1.1 million people flocked to San Francisco to celebrate this event, the Super Bowl presents a huge, receptive live audience that any marketer would pay to have.
And they do. Which is why the competition that happens during Super Bowl is as much between NFL players as it is between companies.
The Super Bowl commercials have practically become an event themselves—anaccumulationof the best advertisements produced by some of the most creative talents in the advertising industry. Practically every Super Bowl ad that comes out has a great script, great storyline, great editing, and great talent.
Rightly so, considering the price companies pay for them.
30 Seconds Worth $5 Million
In 2016, CBS president Leslie Mooves reported that an average30-second spot during last years’ Super Bowl cost marketers around $5 million. According to Heavy.com, that’s a whopping 66.6 percent increase from the average price five years ago. In 2015, an average 30-second spot was around $4.5 million.
That’s a crazy amount, to be sure, but the Super Bowl is the epitome of primetime. Even people who don’t particularly care about the game look forward to the commercials. As mentioned, they’re the best the industry can put forward—and the most expensive. A source cited by CNBC estimates that the marketing campaign for a Super Bowl ad can reach $30 million.
According to Heavy.com, we are in an age where people do their best to disregard commercials. Nowthat people can use add-ons such as TiVo to fast-forward through commercials or skip them entirely, is spending $5million for a Super Bowl commercial a bit of a risk? Is that money well-spent, or could it be put elsewhere in a marketing campaign?
Super Bowl Marketing: Finding the Balance
Forrester principal analyst Jim Nail says, “I’ve always questioned how valuable it is compared to what you can do with that other $5 million on other kinds of television programs.” But considering the Super Bowl reaches at least a hundred million viewers, marketers would argue that the price—if you can afford it—is justified. And there’s no denying that big-name brands like Mercedes-Benz, Victoria Secret, and Doritos can afford the price-point.
But what about those brands that just might break their bank account to get a spot?
CNBC points to the advantage of a digital route.
“There’s one more aspect that may still make the high price of a Super Bowl ad worth it: digital media. Companies can promote their ad before and after the game to a large audience,” writes Michelle Castillo,“further spreading the effectiveness of their campaigns. Brands can also build digital platforms to promote the ideas behind their company.”
They quote SunTrust chief marketing officer Susan Somersille Johnson, who described their marketing campaign as going “through the Super Bowl stage with the digital wrapped around it.”
“It would not justify the investment without the digital component,” Somersille Johnson says, further explaining how their approach is cost-effective and “actually more efficient than other mediums because of the visibility you get before, during and after.”
Super Bowl: Still The Best Time To Advertise
Regardless of his reservations regarding the price, Jim Nail still admits that the Super Bowl ads are as big a deal as the game itself. “The ads have become as integral to the program as the game,” Nail said. “People are actually paying attention. You have to weigh that.”
The takeaway is that marketers can and must take advantage of the viewership the Super Bowl provides. The best way to do that is to be as visible as possible to boost brand awareness, raise conversions, and increase sales. Following SunTrust’s route, using a digital marketing campaign during the Super Bowl can yield positive results—as long as you stay visible before, during, and after.
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