Answers to Your Top Questions About Super Bowl Advertising

football in foreground for super bowlAs Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots approaches, it’s an obvious time to take another look at some of the data on the marketing spectacle that surrounds the event. Here we address some of the top questions many consumers have as they prepare to watch the commercials (er, game…)

How Many Will Be Watching?

There is a reason for the media frenzy surrounding the Super Bowl: it’s enormously popular. “The Super Bowl is a remarkable marketing platform,” write Professors Derek Rucker and Tim Calkins in an article for Forbes. They say that more than 100 million people in the United States watch. That puts the Super Bowl in the top spot for overall viewership; the next most-watched broadcast is the Oscars which drew 30 million viewers in 2017.

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Ad?

Want to get your commercial on the air during the Super Bowl? Be prepared to fork over some cash. According to Sports Illustrated, NBC will charge over $5 million for a 30-second spot during the big event. This is comparable to what Fox charged for Super Bowl LI last year.

But, that’s not the only costs you’ll incur. You’ll also need to produce a spot to air. The higher the production values—or quality—of the ad, the higher the costs. That’s why some advertisers, most notably Doritos, have experimented with user-generated content. This not only drives down the costs of conceptualizing and producing a spot, but also generates widespread word-of-mouth and chatter which further expands impact.

How Much Will NBC Make?

Broadcasters pay big bucks to host the Super Bowl. All those $5 million dollar commercials add up to big bucks in revenue. According to Media Post, total ad revenue for the Super Bowl in 2017 – including both pre- and post-game programming as well as the actual game – brought in $534 million, an increase of 20% over 2016 revenue of $445 million.

How Much Time, in Total, is Consumed by Commercials?

Many people tune into the Super Bowl simply to watch the ads, and there are plenty to watch. In 2017, the in-game TV ad time clocked in at 51 minutes and 30 seconds for 102 commercial spots, according to Media Post. In 2016, there were 96 spots accounting for 49 minutes and 30 seconds.

Super Bowl TV ads are an American media tradition, and many of the estimated 100+ million viewers who are expected to tune in this year are not fans of either team or even of football itself. They tune in specifically for ads.

What better audience could a TV advertiser ask for? Well, it really depends on the product or service you’re trying to sell, and the audience you’re hoping to reach and impact.

Would an Ad During the Super Bowl Make Sense For Me?

If you pay close attention to the ads that will run in the Super Bowl this weekend, you’ll notice that they generally appear to a very large audience. That’s because there’s a very large audience watching which means that they represent a wide range of demographics and psychographics. If your product appeals to a wide range of people—like cars, food and beer—this might be a great place to get exposure. If, however, your product or service appeals to a very narrow, niche audience, this is not likely to be the best advertising venue for you.

Another must have: an element of fun. Those watching the Super Bowl are engaged in a leisurely, social activity. They’re not likely to be really amenable to serious, or boring, messages. This isn’t, for example, the time to promote your funeral services!


There’s additional value to these ads, though, even if you’re not an advertiser. You can learn a great deal by monitoring the coverage of the ads before, during and after the Super Bowl, and reviewing consumer data and which ads resonated, which didn’t, and why. Keep in mind, though, that effective advertising isn’t solely about entertainment—effective advertising needs to build awareness, preference, and purchase!

Go Packers! Sigh, maybe next year…


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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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