Super Bowl Now A Bargain @$3.7 Million A Spot

Every year the price goes up. Every year it becomes seemingly harder and harder for clients to justify such an extravagance. Every year, we wonder if it will continue. 

Until now, when the machinery that merchandises and amplifies the spot is now worth more than the spot itself.  And that’s why $3.7 million is a bargain today. 

 Consider the following: 

  1. Media fragmentation has made it nearly impossible to drop that ‘big bang’ bombshell on consumers. The master stroke that makes everyone wake up and pay attention to the brand, the new product launch, or whatever I want the world to take notice of in a big way. 

       2.  Social media has enabled Super Bowl advertisers to generate huge amounts of earned media, which extend the reach of a spot. Super Bowl spots now have a before-, during- and afterlife, which amplifies the value of a spot in two ways: a) more exposures, and b) word of mouth buzz, which is more effective than straight brand-to-consumer advertising because it leverages third party credibility. Many Super Bowl ‘seeding’ campaigns are already in high gear and it’s only September!

       3. The Super Bowl is the only time that the ratings are actually higher during the commercials than when the programming is on. So ‘effective ratings’ are in a sense much higher.

       4.  The super bowl is one of the only times when everyone in America is watching all together, a requirement for effective water cooler conversation……’hey, did you see the spot about the purple monkey on the super bowl last night?’ only works when just about everyone did see the spot.

      5.  People tend to watch the super bowl in groups, and for one night, everyone is an ad critic. When an interesting spot comes on, it generates instantaneous discussion, which certainly doesn’t happen when you watch something by yourself. A good spot can instantly catapult itself  into pop-culture.

      6.  Nothing jazzes up a sales force, or helps sell a product into a chain or distribution pipeline more than the super bowl. The entire $3.7 million can sometimes be paid for in this way, before the ad even runs.

      7.  The press amplifies super bowl spots with the predictable coverage of which spots did well or badly, reports on the cost of a spot, and all the other issues covered incessantly. It’s the only time of year when advertising is news.



We’ve come a long way from the first TV commercial ever (for Bulova Watches), which cost a whopping $9. 

2 comments about "Super Bowl Now A Bargain @$3.7 Million A Spot".
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  1. Brian Bennett from STIR LLC, September 9, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.

    Agreed. Obviously there is tremendous value in the Super Bowl for companies that have the wherewithal to buy the media, produce disruptive creative, build an integrated campaign around the effort and activate throughout their organization. Hats off to those that make it work. What amazes me is the number of companies that make the investment but fumble the ball on execution. I hope they all read your piece and internalize. I'll be watching intently!

  2. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, September 13, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.

    I actually find the non-ad folks I watch the game with paying less attention the last few years because the spots haven't been interesting enough. And usually 3 weeks after the game the only people who remember them are the ad people. We work/live in the bubble of thinking Ads/Brands are more important in our world than they are in real life to everyone else.

    To prove it look at the Top 10 views each week for ads online/youtube. A great ad gets 1-2mil views. Number 10 usually 300,000. So of the hundreds of ads playing each week that is all the views? It technically is zero.

    And how much buzz leads to no sales. I love the funny beer spots. In fact will watch them on TV if they come on vs changing a channel. The last time I had a bud or miller or coors in my fridge was 1998.

    So the point of the fragmented audience year round holds true the effect of the ads I feel are overblown by our need to feel more important than we are.

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