Super Bowl Ads – A Million Dollar Investment?


Super Bowl Sunday — that magical time of year where everyone gathers around the TV not just to watch grown men slam into each other for fifteen seconds at a time, but also to watch the commercials. This past week, the news cycle was dominated by discussion of Kim Kardashian, the Budweiser puppy and the controversial Nationwide commercial. It’s the biggest, non-sports segment surrounding the whole event — notwithstanding Katy Perry — yet amidst all the talk of content, someone always asks the same question: how much did these ads cost?

Usually the talking heads convene and some truly ridiculous numbers get thrown around. This year it is $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, and in 2016 it’ll likely be something even more outrageous. While it can be fun to see just how much some brands will pay for that level of exposure, the narrative is always the same – Super Bowl ads are expensive and only really viable for big brands with even bigger budgets.

coca cola super bowl ad 2015

It’s true that reaching national audiences on football’s holiest of Sundays is an expensive endeavor. But how many brands really need that level of exposure? Coca-Cola? Sure they might need to reach a hundred million eyeballs to get across the idea that “Coke = good,” but your brand isn’t Coke. Your brand is small chain of authentic Mexican fast food, or the best car wash in the tri-state area, or even a local credit union that understands the lending needs of a small community.

You may not need brand presence from California to New York, but you still need high impact placement and local TV advertising on Super Bowl Sunday can give you the same high level exposure in your market as a big brand at much more affordable prices.

For example, a local station in one of our smaller markets built a game day package including four separate placements during the course of Super Bowl Sunday. One aired around lunch time, two ran during pre-game analysis, and the final spot ran during the game itself. The total cost of the media package cost – between $5,000 and $6,000.

What if you could get you a spot in the first quarter of the game in the range of $7,000 or $8,000? Or instead of a single spot, what about a package that includes six different placements during the course of the day and reaches close to 370,000 households? That will run between $12,000 and $14,000.

Mindy Kaling 2015 Super Bowl Ad

Not bad right? I mean, sure it’s ultimately for a set of ads on a single day based around a single program, but in 2014 that single program drew more than 111 million viewers. And 80 percent of those viewers made a point to watch the ads.

If you’re looking to make an impact and you have some budget to spare, it may be worth it to check with your local stations about ads during the big game. After all, when else can you say the audience is actually rooting for your brand to do something fun?


Leave a Reply