Feb 8, 2024 - Business

Brands think 30 seconds during the Super Bowl is worth $7 million

Illustration of a television with $100 bill on the TV screen

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Super Bowl is expected to attract more than 110 million viewers, 25% of whom plan to focus more on the ads than the game itself.

Why it matters: In 2022, the average Super Bowl advertiser saw $4.60 for every dollar spent, according to a report from market research firm Kantar.

What they're saying: If the goal is to entice viewers and convert them into customers, then it's not enough to place the ad or pop-up an event alongside the Super Bowl, says 160/90 president Ed Horne.

  • "TV ads and on-site experiential opportunities can no longer just live on their own. They need to be married with digital campaigns that will attract and speak to a bigger audience."

Plus, digital buzz also generates media interest.

  • This interest allows companies to not only sell their products but also sell their business strategy to news readers, says Autodesk chief marketing officer Dara Treseder.
  • "When you have a big Super Bowl moment, it gives a lot of visibility to your brand — and so it's crucial to have a narrative that can serve as a red thread that weaves throughout the corporate story during the remainder of the year."

Yes, but: These monetary returns aren't a given — especially for brands that play it too safe, says Marcus Collins, marketing professor at the University of Michigan and author of "For the Culture."

  • "Mediocrity is the biggest sign of failure — to use the most expensive advertising real estate [for] a spot that could have been just a regular ad, aired at any time."
  • "It's also a mistake to overly rely on celebrity," added Collins. "When the ad becomes known for the celebrity as opposed to whatever brand it's meant to promote, that's a huge miss as well."

Be smart: More eyeballs create more room for criticism, so brand marketers are relying on their communication counterparts to advise on the content of these ads to avoid potential backlash.

  • "I don't think you'll see many value-driven ads this year," says Collins. "People saw the Bud Light debacle and said I don't want any of that smoke. Because of that, we should expect to see less of those manifestos about world views and ideals. Instead, expect a very humor-driven Super Bowl."

This is in line with viewer demands. According to a recent survey from the Harris Poll, 69% want to see funny ads, while only 24% want value-driven ads.

  • Viewers are also more inclined to enjoy ads featuring animals, athletes or characters from a show or movie featured in the ads.
  • Only 1 in 5 want to see ads featuring influencers, per the survey.

What to watch: Super Bowl ads are the first big campaigns of Q1 and are a good indicator of communication and marketing budgets, trends and tactics for the year ahead.

Go deeper ... Female-focused ad spots take the Super Bowl.

Go deeper