Advertising in the Super Bowl: Then, Now and the Future

super bowl advertising

The super bowl enjoys a long history in America of drawing a massive viewership across all demographics, and provides an excellent way to brand and market a product. However, that instant access to viewers comes at a price. In the last couple years, that price soared to millions of dollars for a 30 second ad, and continues to get more expensive.

A 30 second ad in last year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks cost 4.5 million dollars, with that number expected to rise in 2016 to over 15 million.

old super bowl ad

Times Have Changed

The first super bowl was played on January 15, 1967. It featured the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers won the game by a score of 35-10. Unlike today, it showed on two separate networks at the same time.

Both CBS and NBC picked up the Super Bowl. CBS saw 18.5 million viewers tune in, while NBC saw 22.6 million. The cost of a 30-second super bowl ad in 1967 was 42,000 dollars.

Now, with hundreds of channels and the option to record the game, companies compete with each other for the attention of Americans. Not only do companies compete against other channels, but they compete against technology that can distract viewers during the game.

super bowl 2015 commercial

Is It Worth It?

In short, yes. A 30 second spot during the Super Bowl is well worth the 4-5 million dollars it costs, according to an by Forbes. A lot of that has to do with the fact that viewers watch the Super Bowl because of the commercials, and commercials during the Super Bowl are viewed by the public as pieces of art – just as entertaining as the players on the field.

Commercials during the Super Bowl no longer include just pictures of companies and their products. They feature mini movies meant to entertain and engulf. They encourage participation and consumers continue to quote many of them days after the Super Bowl takes place.

Social Media

Social media also takes on a major role in Super Bowl Advertising. In fact, 87% of Super Bowl commercials featured the Twitter handle of the company airing the commercial. Advertising is no longer a one way street. Companies now encourage viewers to tweet and respond to Facebook statuses during the Super Bowl. Because of this, they can directly see who views and connects with their commercials, thanks to the important advent of social media.

As advertising evolves and social media becomes an even larger influencer in the homes of Americans, it continues to grow into the force companies come to rely on. From the past to the future, advertisements on the National Football League’s Super Bowl represent a coveted marketing opportunity.


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  1. Robert Barrows says

    How many commercials do you remember from last year’s Super Bowl? Can you actually name names? Do you remember some of the content but not the product? Did those commercials influence you enough to make you run down to the store and buy those products. Did you change any of your buying habits because of the ads you saw in the Super Bowl? How many commercials can you remember from the ads you might have seen on TV last night? I’d say, enjoy the game and enjoy the commercials, and then see how many of them you can remember by name the next day. Do you think the advertisers will get their 4.5 million dollars worth…or did you walk away from the TV set to get some more food or go to the bathroom while their ad ran…and did their ad run in a cluster of 6 or 8 commercials so you already mentally tuned out or used the remote to switch to another channel during their ad? Or did you say to yourself…I want to be on their email list forever so I will interact with them so I can get even more great deals on potato chips throughout eternity. Enjoy the game and talk to your family and friends and have a great Superbowl Sunday…and leave the cell phone in another room. It should be a pretty interesting game!

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