Why do companies advertise during the Super Bowl?
The iconic sports event continues to appeal to advertisers. by AtTheMatch
Why are television adverts for the Superbowl so expensive?
Few sporting events can claim to have the same truly mass market appeal as the Super Bowl. In 2015, when NBC assumed broadcasting rights over Fox, they reportedly charged advertisers $4.5 million for a 30 second television advert, a record high, 12.5% more than Fox charged the previous year. It was reported that in 2015, there were 40 30-second spots, with around half purchased by long-term, multi-year buyers.
- Viewing figures are consistently high
The Super Bowl has long drawn in high viewing figures. In 1981 for example, 49% of American households with a television tuned in to watch the game. While viewers today consume media in varying ways, a record 111 million Americans tuned in to watch the 2015 Super Bowl, an increase of 2.2 million from the previous year. Even when times are tough and the economy suffered as it did in 2009, viewing figures remained strong (in fact more people watched the game during the 2009 economic turmoil than in the previous year).
2. The audience
Demographics are a key concern for advertisers. Data analysis from Nielsen showed that an increase in the number of women, Hispanic and African Americans have played a major part in the Super Bowl attaining record viewing figures. Figures also highlighted that the wealthier you are, the likelier you are to watch the Super Bowl – with those earning $100,000 per year comprising the highest figures. But the game is most popular amongst 18-49 year-olds, the coveted group long viewed as a key demographic by advertisers because they are perceived as less brand loyal than the older generation.
3. Viewers take notice of Super Bowl adverts
Despite the $4.5million price tag of a 30 second advert, NBC executive Seth Winter argued that the exposure for companies was around $10 million. It turns out that a typical advertiser received 54% higher brand recall from a Super Bowl ad than it did for commercials aired in primetime over the previous year. A study by Lab42 found that more people were drawn to the Super Bowl primarily to watch commercials than to watch the game itself. It is not only television where the adverts are being watched. An average of 19 million impressions from social media gives brands added value for money. Some, such as Budweiser’s Puppy dog commercial gave the brand even greater exposure. However there is an increasing pool of evidence suggesting it is important to separate what viewers watched and what actually drove sales. A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire study of all 538 Super Bowl ads that aired between 2000 and 2009 found that most of these adverts don’t work.
4. Boost to share prices
While there is scant evidence suggesting Super Bowl adverts increase sales of a product, they can boost stock prices in the short term at least. A study conducted at the University of Colorado at Bulder, found that the stock price of companies rose soon after the media promoted their adverts’ upcoming appearance. This is one of the reasons why companies announce their intention to run adverts a considerable amount of time before the match with many of these major brands promoting their much sought after Super Bowl spot across social media channels, including YouTube. Another study from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire found companies with Super Bowl advertising slots outperformed the S&P 500 by about 1% in a 10-day period around the big game. The researchers believed there was no correlation between how likable the commercials and stock performance. During another part of the year, the Super Bowl advertisers did not significantly differ in performance from the wider market. The 10-day period identified began five days before the Super Bowl. The researchers found that the performance difference between the Super Bowl stocks and other S&P companies peaked on the Wednesday after the game. They argued that the media focus for the advertisements that spills into the days following the game may make an impact.
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