The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events on television. In fact Forbes claims that it’s the most valuable sporting event in the world, worth $464 million. This year over 100 million people are expected to tune into the rivalry between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. Needless to say, this is a prime advertising opportunity time….and what a price to pay for it.
During Super Bowl 1, a 30-second spot cost $45,000 to broadcast. This year, a 30-second spot reportedly costs $4 million to air. That figure doesn’t include the additional expense of production, casting, and actor/spokesperson fees. This year Lawrence Fishburne, Scarlett Johansson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bob Dillon are just a few of the stars featured in this year’s clips.
The big question is, are these commercials really worth these huge investments?
For a growing company in an expanding market, a well-conceived ad can bring on a big payday. Some research I encountered while investigating this question indicated that Super Bowl commercials for emerging, unknown companies can be a great investment because they lend “credibility” to the entity. Possibly, but I doubt that is what GoDaddy was shooting for with its 2005 Super Bowl commercial. Regardless, the commercial did help launch the company’s blossoming success pattern.
While ROI is a challenging, elusive figure when it comes to measuring the success of marketing efforts, Budweiser appears to be receiving quite a bit of exposure for this year’s commercial. Personally my social media feeds are going a bit wild with friends and colleagues sharing this heart-warming tear-jerker. I wonder how this online sharing compares to verbal sharing around the stereotypic office water cooler, which is definitely an elusive activity to measure. According to Rob Siltanen, founder and chief creative officer of Siltanen & Partners, a Los Angeles-based advertising agency, Super Bowl ads are one of the safest bets a company can make when it is part of an integral marketing effort that includes such pieces as social media blasts, in-store displays, direct mail and print advertising, contests, and giveaways (all depending, of course, on what the particular product or company is). He’s measuring the success of the collective marketing efforts, including Super Bowl commercials, by the continuing sales growth of his clients. It’s all simply part of a well-conceived puzzle. (See my previous blog, Explaining Marketing to the Non-Marketer through Cake, for further explanation.)
So enjoy this year’s marketing investments by Budweiser, Chobani, Cheerios, and more. Here are a few sneak peeks.