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 2023, over 115 million viewers watched the Super Bowl, making it the most-watched Super Bowl in history. The Big Game grants brands unmatched exposure (for a high price tag). Plus, unlike many events, advertising IS part of the allure.
📺 43% of total viewers
in an August 2021 poll stated they tune in on Sunday night just for the commercials. This figure rose to 60% among women.
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.
However, smaller brands or agencies with tighter budgets 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. Ben Affleck starred in a Dunkin’ Donuts ad, while Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul broke bad with mouthwatering PopChips.
Keep reading for tips, tricks, and ideas for getting the most out of Super Bowl advertising without the on-screen million-dollar 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.”
Director of Strategy, KORTX
Advertising During the (Live) Super Bowl
Advertising and marketing live during the Super Bowl is a long and expensive process. Here are some critical tips if you’re considering buying Super Bowl ad space in the future.
When should you buy Super Bowl ad space?
Those considering 2024 should make the decision as soon as possible. By July 2023, CBS has sold at least 70% of its available inventory. Plus, aligning everything you need for these high spotlight roles will often take quite some time.
How much does advertising during the Super Bowl cost?
Advertising during the Super Bowl LVII cost $7 million per 30-second ad placement, increasing an average of since 2017. Marketing teams should anticipate a rise for Super Bowl LVIII, with advertisers investing more due to this cost.
Your team must create a high-quality ad for the space and all additional promo materials to maximize 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 price tag for a 30-slot has increased 5.55% on average since 2017.
Do Super Bowl ads work for brands?
After a Super Bowl ad, brands see a 22% boost in word-of-mouth the following week, compared to 16% in the next month. While these numbers are much larger solely online, they are ephemeral and last just a few days.
Though online numbers surge briefly, the long-term ROI and sales impact of these ads remain debatable.
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 increase brand awareness or stay connected with its customers.”
Ph.D, University of Minnesota
How can brands make live Super Bowl ad placements successful?
Brands advertising during the Super Bowl need a post-ad strategy to take advantage of the buzz. Ready your marketing channels and team for the surge.
Some key steps to take:
- Prepare for Any Incoming Press: Have your talk track and answers ready to go with a team member dedicated to these efforts.
- Paid Search & SEO: Your brand will likely experience a lift in searches. Ensure your website ranks on Google and other search engines. Consider adding budget to your paid search and creating ads that speak directly to the spot.
- Know What’s Next: Buzz can only take you so far. A notable ad attracts attention but needs a clear action plan to attract the right audience. Depending on your offering, stock products or prepare for increased leads and inquiries.
🪙 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
🏈 ⭐️ Reach 76% of Football Fans
Be Everywhere They Are: From living room screens to mobile, we’ve got you covered.
- Picture-in-picture (PiP) CTV Ads: Boost brand recall and drive powerful recommendation intent.
- Real-time Data Analytics: Optimize campaigns through data-triggered strategies.
- Fast and Flawless Creative Execution: Our Award-winning team provides a 24-48 hour turn-around for creative execution, making it easy to invest in video advertising.
Alternatives to Advertising Live During the Super Bowl
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.”
Director of Ad Operations, KORTX
Take Advantage of Competitors’ Word-of-Mouth
After Super Bowl ads, brands see a surge in online impressions from media, social chatter, and searches. If a main competitor advertised during the Super Bowl, leverage that momentum. Consider a post-game paid search campaign highlighting your benefits over them or contextual ads on related articles and blogs.
🏈 (Hypothetical) Case Study: Coinbase Competitor
The Situation: During the 2023 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 first-time users’ website and app issues 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.
Promos Before the Big Game Day – Deals & More
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: Interactive CTV & Jalen Hurts: Check out how KORTX worked with the Flynn Agency for Athlete Studio’s NFL merchandise promotion by using interactive CTV and Picture-in-Picture, achieving a 99% video completion rate!
Contextual Display Advertising – Before, During & After
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.”
Director of Ad Operations, KORTX
Social Media During the Game
47% of live sports users use a second device to check social media during the game. Brands active on social media during these times can gain more impressions.
If relevant, brands should engage in game-related conversations; it’s a cost-effective way to connect with the audience.
Digital Out of Home (DOOH) Displays
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.
In 2023, only 7.12% watched the game at a bar or restaurant, but this represents a highly targeted 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?
“Running DOOH at restaurants and bars during the Super Bowl is always a must. 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 will likely shop for their sweetheart and simultaneously pick up the booze for the big game! Regarding convenience, roadside venues are the most popular venues in the DOOH game. 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!”
Trademark Rules During the Super Bowl
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:
- Avoid the use of any and all trademark items. This includes mentions of the “Super Bowl”/”Super Sunday”, specific team or player names, and any logos owned by ther NFL (such as Super Bowl logos, team mascots, NFL logos, et. al.) This includes both mentions (text) and design (logos).
- Use general or generic terms. You can call it the “Big Game” and speak generally about football.
- Run the copy or design by your legal department if you’re worried!
Creative Advertising: Cheaper and More Impactful
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.
Get Your Brand on the Big Screen for the Big Game with KORTX
Drive impactful ads during the NFL & College Football season, integrating with top-tier content like the NFL, NCAAF, SEC, and Big Ten.
Whether on the big screen or computer devices, our offerings guarantee prime exposure without sidelining game excitement.