Super Bowl and TV Commercials


patriots win

The biggest sporting event in India is the IPL that lasts for around six weeks. Many advertisers spend huge sums of monies during this six-week period to get their brand messages across. I am sure that Vodaphone, Amazon, Tata Sky, Paytm, Snapdeal and others have spent huge sums of money to advertise on the IPL. However, when it comes to a one-evening event and the advertising related to it, nothing comes close to the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) in the US, the finale of a season that begins in the late summer of the previous year.  The Super Bowl is around four hours long. The game itself takes about three and a half hours, including a 30-minute halftime show built in. While a typical NFL game usually lasts about three hours, the Super Bowl is much longer because of the amount of advertising that is shown during the game. The last Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLIX, was played on February 1, 2015 and was won by the New England Patriots.

The day on which the Super Bowl is played is ‘Super Bowl Sunday’. It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl is the most-watched American television broadcast of the year; the four most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history are Super Bowls. Only the UEFA Champions League final beats it as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.

Because of the high viewership associated with the Super Bowl, commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year. Many companies develop commercials only for the Super Bowl. The iconic Macintosh 1984 commercial was created for the Super Bowl and ran only once!  For marketers and the media, watching and discussing the commercials that are shown during the Super Bowl has become a ritual. A 30-second commercial in the last Super Bowl went for $4 million (about Rs.25 crores)!

The use of commercials during the Super Bowl has been criticised for various reasons:

  • The cost. One could run a commercial over 10 times in other programmes for the price of one Super Bowl commercial. At the $4 million rate, advertisers run their commercial just once on the Super Bowl!
  • Despite the huge amounts spent on the Super Bowl commercials, many of them are below par and don’t have the requisite impact. This is because most of the commercials are designed to entertain, not persuade. Therefore, if an advertiser has a serious message to deliver, he would be better off not taking airtime on the Super Bowl.
  • Many advertisers run a commercial on the Super Bowl because just the announcement of buying airtime on the Super Bowl can bump up the stock price of a company. That is why most companies make the announcement weeks in advance and run teasers of their Super Bowl commercials to get a positive response on the price of their stock!

Apologists for commercials on the Super Bowl argue that in today’s net oriented world, it makes sense to buy into the Super Bowl. If a company uses social media effectively and makes the Super Bowl commercial an integral part of a longer promotional activity (building up to the Super Bowl and continuing after), it can create a huge amount of interest and engagement around its commercial.

Given below is a collection of some of the so-called best Super Bowl commercials of this year:

Time magazine ran an article evaluating the commercials that ran on the Super Bowl. You can read the article and see Time’s evaluation of the commercials here.

Any commercials that grabbed your attention?

Visual courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevegarfield/

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This article was written by andy

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