It isn’t easy to think of a more exciting day for advertising pros than the Super Bowl. This national event reaches nearly every American home. In 2022, 149.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, leading to an average reach of around 106 million viewers per ad. The Big Game grants brands unmatched exposure (for a high price tag). Plus, unlike many events, advertising IS part of the allure.
📺 22% of total viewers
in a January 2021 poll stated they tune in on Sunday night just for the commercials.
Brands with clever or memorable ideas can easily earn an impressive amount of word-of-mouth. Not to mention that advertising awards and accolades abound for teams that make “the” ads of the season.
Smaller brands or agencies with tighter budgets, however, don’t have access to the thrill and opportunity to reach over 100 million people with a single ad. Not when the price tag for a 30-second spot will run you upward of $7 million to participate. Plus, that short commercial alone will require a big budget and a familiar (expensive) face for the creative. Already-released commercials for 2023 include Gronk, Bryan Cranston, Jack Harlow, Paul Rudd (appearing as Ant-Man), and more.
Keep reading for tips, tricks, and ideas for getting the most out of Super Bowl advertising without the live on-screen price tag.
💬 How can digital marketers advertise during the Super Bowl? 💬
“Given the massive amount of content surrounding the Super Bowl across many digital channels, brands can take advantage of multiple marketing and strategy options leading up to, during, and after the big game.”
Corey Rice, Director of Strategy, KORTX
Advertising and marketing live during the Super Bowl is a long and expensive process. Here are a couple of critical tips if you’re considering buying Super Bowl ad space in the future.
Those considering 2024 should make the decision as soon as possible. By September 2022, Fox Television Network had sold 95% of this year’s ad inventory. Plus, aligning everything you need for these high spotlight roles will often take quite some time.
Advertising during the Super Bowl LVII costs around $6.5 to $7 million per 30-second ad placement. This number continues to increase yearly, so marketing teams can expect a steady increase for the 2024 event. Advertisers and marketing teams should also expect to invest considerably more following this price tag. Your team must create a high-quality ad for the space and all additional promo materials to get the most of the exposure. This cost will likely include celebrity talent, high production value, and plenty of post-commercial time and money for press releases, follow-ups, and more.
The most considerable bump brands experience after a Super Bowl commercial tends to be word-of-mouth or brand recognition. The week after the game garners brands a 22% increase in word of mouth as compared to only a 16% increase in the proceeding month. While these numbers are much larger solely online, they are ephemeral and last just a few days. Despite the high price tag and interest in these advertisements, studies and reports have provided mixed results on whether these big, splashy moments help brands in the long run in terms of true ROI and sales.
💬 Are these ads worth the hefty price tags? 💬
It all depends on the company’s strategy. Previous research shows there really isn’t a boost in sales after Super Bowl ads air, but there are immediate spikes in online searches. Paying big money for the commercial could help a firm reach its goal of increasing brand awareness or staying connected with its customers.
Linli Xu, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Brands that run ads during the Super Bowl must have a post-ad plan to capitalize on the word of mouth and attention gained from the placement. Prepare all of your marketing channels and team for the incoming buzz.
Some key steps to take:
🪙 Case Study: Don’t Be Like Coinbase
The Win: The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase went viral in 2022 for their minimalist Super Bowl ad that consisted of a QR code bouncing around the screen. Millions of people talked about this ad. The shock and awe of the bouncing code gained a lot of word-of-mouth.
The Loss: Unfortunately, the brand did not prepare for the influx of curious onlookers and potential new users. Immediately following the ad’s broadcast, social media accounts reported that their website and app had crashed.
The Lesson: Making a splash is the first step regarding Super Bowl advertisements and placements. Always consider how users will react and prepare accordingly. If you don’t have those resources, wait a year or so until you do.
Source: Coinbase Bounces QR Code Around for 60 Seconds in Minimalist Super Bowl Commercial, Variety
The Super Bowl is a massive spending day and event in America. Most families watch the game at home or travel to a friend’s house for the festivities. Outside of traditional advertising during the game, marketing teams can explore plenty of other spaces.
💬 When should brands avoid live commercials? 💬
“If you don’t fully understand where your audience is and how they best engage, live advertising is probably not where you should spend your budget. With the limited window of live advertising, you don’t have time to optimize or “find” your audience.”
Brandon Pollard, Ad Operations, KORTX
As previously stated, brands experience a heavy lift in impressions online following Super Bowl ads. This attention generally comes from press mentions, word-of-mouth, social media, and search engines. If one of your main competitors advertised during the Super Bowl, you can easily ride those tailwinds with the proper advertising. Consider implementing a paid search campaign during the week following speaking to your benefits vs. the advertised brand, or contextual advertising on blog posts and publications that speak to the commercial.
🏈 (Hypothetical) Case Study: Coinbase Competitor
The Situation: During the 2022 Super Bowl, crypto giant Coinbase ran a viral commercial that eventually crashed their website. While the brand eventually solved the issue, competitors could have easily jumped on the issue the following day.
The Play: Considering the website and app issues first time users had with Coinbase, other crypto exchanges could have easily targeted the press and implemented paid search regarding the issue. A brand could have run a “Can’t log into Coinbase? Our crypto company provides 24/7 support for our app” message or another value ad. This brand would get a piece of the massive Super Bowl impression pie with a much smaller price tag.
Super Bowl parties are a national holiday in the United States. Most Americans leave the house or, at least, prep with some junk food or get pizza or wings delivered. In 2021, consumers spent an estimated 13.9 billion dollars on purchases for the game night, with the average adult planning on spending around $74.55 for the game.
Food and beverage companies and delivery restaurants can easily take advantage of this spending by advertising before the big event. For example, if you are a grocery store, you can provide deals for the Big Game on snack foods. Furthermore, technology and TV companies could speak to those wanting to host the Big Game with an impressive TV set-up.
🌭 KORTX Case Study: Hormel Chili Sweepstakes
Check out how KORTX helped Hormel Chili launch a sweepstake around the Super Bowl, targeting football fans, and reached an impressive 4.3X return on investment.
Days leading up to and following the Super Bowl blow up with coverage across the web about the Big Game. If you’re looking to capitalize on the conversation and not pay the $6.5 million plus price tag, benefiting from this convo online is a great way to go. Instead of a live commercial, consider placement on articles leading up to the game or coverage following the game.
💬 How can marketers benefit from big events like the Super Bowl? 💬
“Events like the Super Bowl highlight the accessibility and scale of programmatic. Clients can capitalize on the visibility of the Super Bowl at a fraction of the time/price of traditional tv ads. Brands that have discovered an audience that works for them should use these events to super-serve them in a highly targeted way.”
Brandon Pollard, Ad Operations, KORTX
45% of live sports users admit to using a second device to check social media during the game. Brands that are active during this time will likely experience increased impressions. If it makes sense for your brand to comment on the game or advertisements, consider doing so. This tactic is an easy way to relate to your audience for a cheaper price tag.
Digital out-of-home advertising can be an ideal way to capture Super Bowl users before and after the game. Consider placing advertisements in bars, restaurants, and other locations that might be hosting a party. While only 12% of those planning to watch the Big Game in 2022 planned on doing so at a bar or restaurant, this would be a super-qualified audience. Opportunities alongside transit stops and ride shares during the right time also provide key placement.
💬 What are your tips for DOOH advertising during the Super Bowl? 💬
“It’s always a must to run DOOH at restaurants and bars during the Super bowl. At these venues, we can target on-site consumers and even those picking up orders for others. Considering that over 70% of people grocery shopped for Super Bowl Sunday in 2022, it is also vital to include venues like grocery stores. This year, the super bowl and valentines are so close to each other that we can target a larger audience in those grocery stores. People are likely to shop for their sweetheart and simultaneously pick up the booze for the big game! Speaking of convenience, the most popular venue in the DOOH game are roadside venues. We can’t forget that people need transportation to get to these grocery stores or pick up those chicken wings at their favorite local restaurant. Roadside venues are another great option since we are guaranteed eyes from those drivers.
📍 Pro Tip: Choose venues within the same mile of big grocery chains for the most coverage!”
Paola Miano, Ad Operations, KORTX
Looking for a marketing partner that pairs data with strategy? Check out KORTX. Our team can take action on any of the above channels and more.
Much like many other big events, the NFL is very particular about what phrasing and mentions can look like around the Super Bowl. Ever notice how everyone calls it “the Big Game” in their ads? This is because the organization is notoriously litigious about their trademark.
Keep the following rules in mind when advertising and marketing during the Super Bowl:
The Super Bowl is a massive moment each year for American television ads. It is an excellent opportunity for brands to showcase their products and value proposition during the Big Game or surrounding it. While the live on-air ad spots are costly, creative can cost you much less. Consider exploring contextual options, social pushes, or even benefiting from a competitor investment.
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