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Is a Super Bowl Ad Worth it?
A 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl will cost brands as much as $7 million.
Is it worth it?
It’s an interesting debate – and a relevant one even for brands that would never consider buying time during the big game. Are big ticket marketing initiatives worth the cost?
On one hand, a Super Bowl spot is the last vestige of a bygone era of marketing where advertising is king. It’s the ultimate way for big brands to flex their marketing prowess in paying a premium to reach as many eyeballs as possible.
Marketing and communications have been moving away from that model for some time. They’ve shifted toward content marketing and providing value for customers via earned or owned media, as well as social media, which fosters an ongoing dialogue with audiences. With these strategies, brand identity and trust are built over many smaller touchpoints instead of one all-or-nothing ad buy.
Plus, digital marketing tools have enhanced audience metrics, paving the way for complex strategies and ROI calculations that a broadcast commercial simply can’t match. Marketers have more audience data at their fingertips with a simple Google Ads campaign than they do for a Super Bowl ad, when people may miss your message because they were in the kitchen refilling the guac.
On the Other Hand…
Despite the legacy of Super Bowl ads, they do occupy a unique space in today’s marketing landscape. The Super Bowl is one of the last truly real-time events. No one is DVRing the big game to watch a few days later. People are watching live with friends and talking about it on social media. The media landscape gets more siloed every day – the Super Bowl ad is a chance to take part in a national conversation that transcends platforms and audience segments.
What’s more, Super Bowl ads themselves have become media-worthy events with their own news cycles. Lay’s is even running a teaser for its commercial starring Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen this year. Commercials arguably receive more analysis than the football game itself.
So is a Super Bowl ad worth it?
Like any marketing initiative, the answer lies in the metrics. University of Minnesota researchers found that a Super Bowl ad drives a marked increase in word-of-mouth marketing. Other studies have found that for some products and markets, a Super Bowl ad does deliver a meaningful ROI. At the same time, there are plenty of brands behind panned Super Bowl ads that would gladly have spent their millions elsewhere.