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Touch Down, or Let Down?
January 27, 2017

I have always been fascinated by the Super Bowl and not only the massive audience, but also the advertising revenue it commands. According to this article, Fox is asking $5.6 million for a 30-second ad spot during this year’s event.  But, as the article rightfully points out, that same $5.6 million that could be spent on 30 seconds, goes a lot further these days.  

As Adweek notes, this price point could also get advertisers almost 20 Snapchat Lenses, 220 million video impressions on a full-episode player, 70 million display video impressions or 800 million banner ad impressions.

So why do advertisers gravitate to those coveted spots, and more importantly, is it still worth it?

Some say yes...

A compelling Forbes article (written last year, however still offering a very relevant argument) is very pro Super Bowl, indicating that the Reach, Attention and Platform still makes the event an unparalleled mode of communication, and is often the perfect stage for the major brands that participate to set up the rest of their campaigns for the year.  Now, with social media platforms such as YouTube, these companies are still experiencing customer interactions even after the initial showing of their ads.

There is also a long-standing tradition that the Super Bowl has managed to cultivate, an exclusive club if you will, of advertisers who see those 30 second slots as advertising gold. Advertisers who manage to claim one of those spots are showing their stuff among big-league brands such as Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Jeep, and Doritos.

 

...while others say no.

On the other side of the argument, struggling NFL ratings and the total cost of the ad (on top of the ad spot itself, actually producing an ad and purchasing supplementary advertising such as social media buys, can be well into the millions) make these spots less appealing for advertisers. Another argument made was that if an ad is not received well, it could seriously damage a brand, making the risk a serious consideration for advertisers deciding to drop such a substantial amount of cash. 

Censorship is also highly prevalent in this advertising medium, which means if advertisers toe the line, they may be in for a very expensive rework, like this lumber company who had a little too much fun with a wall.

A final, and possibly most notable problem some advertising professionals are finding with these spots, is that in a data driven industry, the ability to measure return on investment is still not good enough to justify the money spent for that 30 seconds of airtime.

 

As a marketer who has grown up right at the center of a period of rapid development of communication channels (the Internet, social media, mobile communication), it is hard for me to justify the money that is spent on one 30-second ad, when there are so many outside the box opportunities to engage with consumers.

 

 

That being said, I’d like to know where you stand. Let us know what side you’re on in the comments below!

 

BONUS: Some extra reading.

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