Does the Cost of Super Bowl TV Ads Make it Worth While? The cost to advertise to the TV audience during the Super Bowl is pretty steep these days, on average, and usually, they’re the secondary and slightly entertaining aspect of the game. Unless the game is so lackluster that it truly puts your dog to sleep.
So here we are. I’ve snatched up my stuff… chips, wings, beer, coffee and what not, and I am preparing to settle in to watch the 2014 Super Bowl. The biggest anticipation of the game, depends on who you chat with. For sporting fans, it’s the game itself. But close behind in interest, are the TV ads.
Historically, FOR ME, the TV ads started shining when Budweiser started making cute and funny ads. Then other brands started to play catch up. Then suddenly, the ads were almost as big of an anticipation as the game itself. They even get media coverage weeks ahead of the game, with the bigger advertisers dropping their ads early on YouTube. And during the game, fellow entertainment websites are punching up game ads as soon as they air.
According to Wikipedia, Master Lock had one of the first endearing ads in 1973, where a person tried to shoot open a lock, and failing. But the ad endured.
In 1977, there was the Xerox ad, where monks realized they could use a Xerox machine instead of pen and quill to recreate words.
And the classic 1980 Coca-cola ad, when “Mean Joe” Green gave a kid his game-worn shirt for a Coca-Cola.
And of course there’s the string of Budweiser ads through the years, with, of late, the Clydesdale horses. (The foreign owned Budweiser has been advertising in the Super Bowl for 26 years now.)
But then things started to flounder a bit for ads, but there was at least one or two OK ads some years. This year, I’m 30 minutes into the game and I’ve seen Doritos, a few movie ads, a car brand and other products. Nothing over the top yet.
But then I stop and wonder, for some of the ads, that are just so-so, how much did these companies pay for their 30 seconds of meh?
Turns out that as one of the most watched sporting events of the year, ad time for this season’s game can cost on average, $4M for 30 seconds.
That’s $8 million a minute. Dang.
Why? Because of this tradition we’ve started with the ads, the game is known for the one time the least amount of viewers tune away, run for the bathroom, or what not, and watch the ads.
(Unless it’s Seattle vs Denver, then it’s just a horrible TV experience, period. Unless you’re a Seatlle fan. Right Donna?)
There’s quite a bit of money spent to get you, the consumer, to buy their products.
And the Super Bowl ad slots do work. Hence, it’s a desirable. venue.
And to think, the ads AVERAGE $4 million per 30-second time slot. With the first half being slightly more costly.
Do you want to do the math or do you want me to? Well, if you add up the potential of 60 30-second slots to sell, sums up to $240,000,000 that Fox has netted for the ad spots.
60 ad slots assumes the standard mix of normal television programming, where there’s roughly 20 minutes of ads per hour.
Now, let’s think about this… $240M for ads for
That’s only to air them. That does not count the production costs where brands drop bucks on big names or production teams. (Did you know that Michael Bay does the Victoria’s Secret TV ads?)
So where am I going with all this? The same place I go when I mention that the advertising industry drops $10 billion a TV season on ads. (Don’t even get me going on political spending)
The real cost of the advertising industry could be our future.
With all this money flying around, our priorities seem pretty screwed up over the long haul. It can be amazing that we value sports and fictional entertainment so much that it makes it worth while to spend this kind of money.
All the while, teachers are losing jobs, kids are losing educational resources, people are starving in this day and age, cancer has yet to be defeated and so forth and so on.
A three-hour sporting event just netted Fox $250M. I know it is what it is, but sometimes, when you take a step back, moments like this make such a huge statement in general about us. And sometimes, it just seems sad.
Below, resources or good reading on the issue of super bowl ads and their costs:
nbcnews: why-super-ad-bowl-will-be-most-pricey-ever (2/5/14: fascinating! this nbc web page was pulled within a week of the super bowl.)