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Cost of Super Bowl Commercial Break

Rough ad spot cost of a 30 seconds commercial break graph after and during the super bowl game play, Good news to advertisers who are planning to make media ad campaign Super Bowl commercial break because the ad spot cost of airtime didn't increase with this projected bump in viewership.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, Audi, CarMax, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Doritos, Go Daddy, M&M’s, T-Mobile, Volkswagen and more will get a chance to try and recoup some of their expenses by swaying consumers with pitches that range from creative to serious, humorous to sexy and some that are just plain silly.

These mega-corporations are generally the only ones with a marketing budget large enough to absorb such a massive expenditure on self-promotion, but the return on investment could pay dividends due to a level of exposure unable to be obtained anywhere else.

This year, the average cost of a 30-second commercial will be about $4 million, or $133,000 per second, about the same as last year.

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Yes, $4 million is the average cost per ad, but the actual cost to an advertiser varies widely. The biggest advertisers — Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, etc. — will pay far less than the reported average,


The primary reason: Big buyers command big discounts. They buy multiple ad “units” — 30- and 60-second spots — spread over the game. Anheuser-Busch, for example, will run three ads for Bud Light and two for Budweiser. It also has a multi-year contract to advertise during the game, further reducing its overall costs. The Super Bowl is the perfect vehicle to educate the American consumer” about the company’s products.

Last year, the bet paid off. According to the Nielsen ratings service, the audience for the ­Ravens-49ers contest grew by 25 percent from its low point to its high point, peaking at nearly 115 million viewers late in the second half of what turned out to be a dramatic game.

Top American Companies Buying Ad slot in 30 seconds,


  1. Anheuser-Busch InBev - The brewer's crucial and expensive Super Bowl plans this year added up to three ads for Bud Light two for Budweiser.
  2. Audi of America (Volkswagen) - 60-second Super Bowl commercial in the first ad break after the third quarter
  3. Axe (Unilever) - Axe released a 60-second version of its planned Super Bowl commercial well before game day.
  4. Bank of America - 60-second commercial between the first and second quarter.
  5. Butterfinger (Nestle)- One thirty-second spot in the second half to promote the new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
  6. Carmax - One 30-second commercial in the second quarter of the game
  7. Cheerios (General Mills)- One commercial in the first unscheduled time-out of the game
  8. Chevrolet (General Motors)- Two 60-second ads, both in the first quarter.
  9. Chobani - One 60-second ad, Chobani's first in the Super Bowl, will run in the third quarter
  10. Chrysler (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)- One two-minute ad
  11. Coca-Cola - Two 60-second ads, one in the second quarter and one in the second half
  12. Doritos (PepsiCo's Frito-Lay) - Two 30-second spots chosen through the "Crash the Super Bowl" contest.
  13. GoDaddy - Two 30-second ads, one in each half
  14. H&M - One 30-second spot during the second quarter
  15. H.J. Heinz Co. - One 30-second spot, only the second Super Bowl ad in the brand's history
  16. Honda - One ad late enough in the game that its opening line
  17. Hyundai Motor America - Two commercials during the 2014 game.
  18. Intuit and GoldieBlox - One 30-second spot in the third quarter of the Super Bowl
  19. Jaguar - One 60-second commercial in the third quarter, the first Super Bowl commercial Jaguar has run.
  20. Jeep (Chrysler)- One 60-second ad
  21. Kia - A 60-second ad in the third quarter
  22. M&M's (Mars) - One 45-second spot
  23. Maserati (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) - One 90-second ad
  24. Microsoft - One ad in the fourth quarter, Microsoft's first in the Super Bowl
  25. Oikos (Dannon)- One 30-second spot during the fourth quarter
  26. Paramount Pictures (Viacom) - One 30-second spot to promote "Transformers: Age of Extinction
  27. PepsiCo Beverage - One 30-second ad. PepsiCo is a key sponsor of the NFL and is sponsoring this year's Halftime Show.
  28. RadioShack - One 30-second
  29. SodaStream - A 30-second spot in the fourth quarter
  30. Sonos - One ad that was already making the rounds on TV before the Super Bowl
  31. Squarespace - One 30-second ad
  32. Subway Restaurants - One 30-second Super Bowl commercial purchased at the last second
  33. T-Mobile - Three 30-second ads: one in the second quarter, one in the third and another in the fourth.
  34. Toyota (Toyota) - One 60-second spot promoting the Toyota Highlander
  35. TurboTax (Intuit) - 60-second commercial in the second quarter.
  36. WeatherTech - 30-second ad in the second quarter
  37. Wonderful Pistachios (Roll International)- 15-second spots in the second quarter.

Why you should Advertise on Super Bowl?

These mega-corporations are generally the only ones with a marketing budget large enough to absorb such a massive expenditure on self-promotion, but the return on investment could pay dividends due to a level of exposure unable to be obtained anywhere else.
super bowl ad return on investment graph

As the graph indicates, only 70 percent of brands will even be remembered by viewers after the game and the numbers get worse from there.

How do you start?

First you need to read The rules of the Super Bowl advertising game,
The rules of the Super Bowl ad game have evolved over XLVIII years and are evolving still in the age of social media. Here are a few of the basics:

Rule No. 1:

No one pays the sticker price,

The Super Bowl advertising marketplace is like a Turkish souk: Everyone haggles.
Yes, $4 million is the average cost per ad, but the actual cost to an advertiser varies widely. The biggest advertisers — Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, etc. — will pay far less than the reported average, says Marc Morse, senior vice president of media-buying agency RJ Palmer in New York.

The primary reason: Big buyers command big discounts. They buy multiple ad “units” — 30- and 60-second spots — spread over the game. Anheuser-Busch, for example, will run three ads for Bud Light and two for Budweiser. It also has a multi-year contract to advertise during the game, further reducing its overall costs.

No such luck for one-off advertisers, such as SodaStream, which markets do-it-yourself ­soda-making machines (and lately has been involved in a controversy over its decision to build a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank). The company, whose ad stars Scarlett Johansson, paid top dollar for its single, 30-second unit, though the company’s president, Yonah Lloyd, declined to specify his cost. “For us, the Super Bowl is the perfect vehicle to educate the American consumer” about the company’s products, he said in an interview.

What goes into a successful Super Bowl commercial? We talked to Timothy Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, about the key advertising plays that score big during the Super Bowl. (Kate Musselwhite Tobey/The Washington Post)
And deals involving Super Bowl ads usually involve more than Super Bowl ads. Time during the big game is often sold as part of a package that includes commercials during other programs or on channels owned by the Super Bowl’s broadcaster.

“The networks try to get you to buy other things,” Morse said. “CBS [last year] said, ‘If you want the Super Bowl, you have to [buy] March Madness. This year it was, ‘If you want the Super Bowl, be prepared for an equal spend on Fox [Sports] 1,’ ” a Fox-owned cable network.


Rule No. 2:

Buy early, save later,

Spending millions on a Super Bowl ad isn’t all that different than spending a few hundred on a plane ticket or hotel room. The sooner you buy, the lower the price is likely to be.

Many advertisers buy at the “upfronts,” the annual meetings between network sellers and advertising buyers, held in June. As a result, much of Fox’s “inventory” of Super Bowl time was spoken for by last summer. (Fox declined to comment for this article.)

As long as there’s demand, prices for whatever is left tend to rise as the game gets closer. But on occasion, it pays to be patient. When Detroit’s slumping automakers passed up the game during the worst years of the recession, last-minute advertisers snapped up unsold spots at bargain prices.

Rule No. 3:

First in, last out,

Advertisers pay extra to air commercials in the first and last positions in a “pod,” or cluster of commercials. These are considered the most-watched and the most memorable positions.

Basic inertia explains why it’s good to be first: People haven’t jumped off the couch yet as the game stops for the commercial break. Anticipation explains why the last spot is primo: People are rushing back to their seats as the game gets set to resume.

Rule No. 4:

Buy early in the game, too,

Advertisers tend to clamor to show ads in the first half of the game and usually in the first quarter. The reason? It’s when the audience is most stable, most predictable and most attentive to the advertising.

“It’s the safest place to be,” says Jennifer Clayton, the manager of advertising planning and buying for Herndon, Va.-based Volkswagen of America, which is airing a humorous one-minute ad in the second quarter (in the first “pod” position of the second ad break) Sunday. “The game hasn’t been determined, and there’s a lot of hype about what the brands are doing. People focus on that.”
Which is why advertisers pay premium prices for ads shown during the first half.
Second-half advertisers, meanwhile, not only risk losing droves of viewers to a bum game, they also have to fight viewer fatigue.

“A lot of people are watching the game at parties. They’ve been there for hours, and they’re getting tired,” says San Diego State’s Belch. “By the third or fourth quarter, the same enthusiasm is just not there. So you’re rolling the dice a little bit” by placing an ad during this part of the game.

Last year, the bet paid off. According to the Nielsen ratings service, the audience for the ­Ravens-49ers contest grew by 25 percent from its low point to its high point, peaking at nearly 115 million viewers late in the second half of what turned out to be a dramatic game.

Although that result delighted fourth-quarter advertisers — Big audience! Low price! — it was a fortuitous result, Morse said. “You can look like a genius [under those circumstances], but you can’t really plan it,” he said. “If we could, we’d be running the world.”


Rule No. 5:

You need ads for your ads.

A Super Bowl commercial is just the start of an advertiser’s advertising . . . about its Super Bowl advertising.
The commercial is just the middle. Thanks to social media, companies engage in a buildup about their ads before the game, and most follow up afterward, too.

Volkswagen says it was the first advertiser to release its Super Bowl ad online before the game in 2011 (for a charming spot called “The Force”). It also says it was the first to release a teaser ad, called “The Bark Side,” for its Super Bowl commercial in 2012. The effort propelled its commercials to viral status.

(Well, technically, Apple may have been the first advertiser to ­“pre-release” its legendary “1984” Super Bowl ad 30 years ago by quietly airing it a few times in places such as Twin Falls, Idaho, in late 1983; it did so to qualify the commercial for advertising awards.)

Now, pre-release promotion is common. Many advertisers have released teasers on YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. And many advertisers release the ads themselves days before the game, seemingly undercutting their big-game “reveal.”

The idea, of course, is to create buzz before the buzz starts.


SodaStream’s Johansson commercial, released this week, led to calls for a boycott of the Israeli-based company; a Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial family also got media attention after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus objected to MSNBC’s characterization of it in a tweet. (MSNBC tweeted, “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww,” but then withdrew it and apologized.)
This year, Volkswagen promoted its Super Bowl commercial with a teaser ad making fun of Super Bowl ads. It will also run mobile ads mentioning its Super Bowl ad after the game in an effort to capture residual interest, according to Clayton.

But there’s a limit to how much anyone can keep hyping the hype; search-engine queries for Super Bowl ads   contact  start to fall quickly about 48 hours after the game ends, she said.



Cost of Super Bowl Commercial Break