Super prices for Superbowl advertisements

Noah Cary

The first Super Bowl was held in 1967 between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers, and a spot for a commercial costed about $42,000. Today, a TV spot for the Super Bowl will run about $4.5 million. This is up from $4 million in 2014 and $3.8 million in 2013. This price increase is forcing the big name companies that generally advertise in the Super Bowl to reevaluate the effect of running fewer ads. GoDaddy is famous for its Super Bowl ads, however this year the company will drop from owning two spots in 2014 to only one spot in 2015. Coca-Cola is another company that generally runs multiple ads, however this year will only run one ad. With some of the bigger companies opening up some previously locked down spots there will be about a dozen new advertisers in the Super Bowl in 2015.

But does buying more spots in the big game really improve the awareness? Are consumers more likely to go out and buy a Coca-Cola just because they saw three spots during the Super Bowl? There are conflicting reports among advertising professionals. Communicus CEO Jeri Smith told Ad Age in 2014, “We find brand association with Super Bowl commercials is much lower that you’d get with a typical buy.” However, Michael Mulvihill, senior vice president of programming and research at Fox Sports claims that in 2010, a study found an 11 percent increase in sale of products the month after the Super Bowl.

With over 100 million people expected to tune in Feb. 1, the Super Bowl is among the most watched television events in the U.S. every year, including Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 being the most watched television event in U.S. history with 111.5 million views.

The general conclusion by most advertising professionals is that a spot in the Super Bowl buys consumer consideration, and $4.5 million is a little more than a drop in the bucket for large companies like Anheuser-Busch, which made more than $40 billion in revenue in 2013. So as the price continues to rise, companies will always relish the opportunity to be put before 100 million viewers.