Was Super Bowl LVII Advertising Worth it to Brands?

Was Super Bowl LVII Advertising Worth It to Brands?

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While people across the country debate their favorite ads from Super Bowl LVII and re-watch the biggest commercials on YouTube, brands are questioning whether the Super Bowl has reached a tipping point and asking how much higher the price for a 30-second spot can rise.

As advertising’s biggest night of the year, the Super Bowl has always commanded sky-high rates. Brands reportedly paid between $6 and $7 million for each 30-second spot during this year’s game, leading to what Fox says was a “record amount” of ad revenue for Super Bowl LVII.

“Super Bowl is one of the last standing spots where you can get mass reach in a simultaneous time. It lends itself to instant cultural zeitgeists,” says Andrew Feigenson, CEO of Vivvix, an ad intel company launched by Kantar earlier this year. “This means that advertisers will continue to pay a premium, in a world where it is increasingly complex to obtain mass reach.”

Tracking the actual results from a Super Bowl spot isn’t easy. Unlike digital advertising, TV ad metrics aren’t concrete. Super Bowl LVII was expected to be a major ratings success. While official ratings have yet to be released, the popularity of the Eagles and the Chiefs lent itself to a highly-watched broadcast. It’s been nearly a decade since the previous viewership high was reached, in 2014. More than 114.4 million viewers tuned in that night to watch the Patriots win over the Seahawks. Of course, TV watching was different nine years ago. Today, viewers are more likely to be watching the Super Bowl across multiple screens, including mobile phones and tablets. 

According to DIRECTV, the Super Bowl is the most watched 3-hour time slot when it comes to live programming. During Super Bowl LVI, 25% more viewers tuned in to stream the game as compared to 2021. Households watching the game on linear spent 44% more time with commercials in 2022 than 2021. That trend was expected to hold in 2023, as well.

Although advertisers are interested in knowing how many people viewed the telecast and how many people saw their ads, there is a level of brand awareness that comes with Super Bowl advertising that’s hard to replicate via digital channels, even if the direct results are harder to track. 

Dunkin may not know how many people visited a drive-thru on Monday after seeing the company’s commercial with Ben Affleck on Sunday night, but the water cooler chatter is certainly increasing brand awareness.

“Overall, spend on the Super Bowl went up which would indicate that these new advertisers are willing to pay the premium,” Feigenson says.

Another change that’s influencing the effectiveness of Super Bowl advertising has to do with the coordination of traditional and digital strategies. A number of brands, including M&M’s, launched lead-up campaigns teasing their commercials on social media before the big game. The strategy is meant to create buzz ahead of the Super Bowl, effectively getting more juice out of what would otherwise be a standard 30-second TV spot.

Feigenson says the traditional advertiser mix for the Super Bowl is changing. This year’s broadcast saw fewer crypto companies and more alcohol brands, including Anheuser Busch, Heineken, Diageo, Remy Martin, and Molson Coors. 

“Some advertisers we’re seeing, like booking.com, are capitalizing on a boom in travel. Paramount + is capitalizing on streaming, Netflix/GM is focused on EV and streaming together, and commerce company Rakuten, is also in the mix,” Feigenson says. “This is all a nod to an increasingly connected and socially conscious world that loves its content.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.