Super Bowl advertising is, well, the Super Bowl of advertising.
In 2013, even when the World Series went to six games and the NCAA
Final Four had its biggest return yet for ad revenue, the
single-telecast Super Bowl crushed them both, reaping $292 million
in ad spending versus $247.6 million for the Series and $198.5
million for the Final Four. The average rate for a 30-second spot
during the game, at $4 million, was more than double the second
highest average rate for a 30-second spot on TV: $1.6 million for
the Academy Awards.
Every year, the world's biggest commercial showcase gets bigger
and the high stakes higher. Kantar Media mined our extensive
database on the past decade of Super Bowl TV advertising to assign
some numbers to the scope, cost and ROI of the opportunity.
Total ad spend
From 2004 through 2013, the Super Bowl telecast generated $2.01
billion in network advertising sales from more than 130
advertisers. Total ad spending per telecast nearly doubled over the
10-year period from $149.6 million in 2004 to $292 million in
The Super Bowl is the priciest advertising opportunity on TV by
far: the average rate for a 30-second network spot during the game
has increased by more than 70% over the past 10 years, reaching
$4.0 million in 2013. The $500,000 jump in the average cost of a
30-second spot between 2012 and 2013 was the largest of the
Healthy demand is expected to result in slightly higher pricing
for the 2014 game, although the actual amount paid by each
advertiser will vary depending on exactly when during the game
their ad runs, the length of the spot, and whether they opt for a
larger package that also includes spots during the pre- or
In return for this investment, advertisers reach an audience that
doesn't just stay put around for commercial breaks-it expands.
During the 2013 game, the percentage of the audience that tuned
away during the average Super Bowl ad was a miniscule 0.7%,
compared with a tuneaway rate of 3% to 4% for ads during regular TV
But Super Bowl advertising also turns typical commercial viewing
habits on their head by drawing larger audiences for the ads than
for the game. The 2013 game scored a commercial tuning index of
101.6, meaning the average Super Bowl ad attracted an audience that
was 1.6% larger than the average audience for the game itself.
Click here for Kantar Media's estimations of
Sponsorship Media Value for venue sponsor MetLife and
halftime sponsor Pepsi.
The opportunity for brand-building in recent years has drawn a
steady influx of first-time advertisers and those with smaller ad
budgets who decide to invest a hefty portion in a Super Bowl ad. In
2013, 21% of the advertisers were first-timers. A sizable rookie
class is also expected in 2014; Chobani, Intuit, Tata Motors and
Nestle already have publicly confirmed their Super Bowl debuts.
Also in 2013, four Super Bowl advertisers put more than 10% of
their full-year media budgets into ads during the game. The most
leveraged brand was Gildan Activewear, whose $4 million, 30-second
spot represented 55% of its full-year measured ad spending.
Even as Super Bowl ad pricing has risen, so has the volume of
commercial time during the telecast. The past four Super Bowls have
been the most ad-saturated in history, each containing more than 47
minutes of ad time. This includes paying sponsors, commercial
messages from the NFL, and promotional announcements from the
network for its own shows.
Between 2004 and 2013, total airtime increased by nearly 10
minutes, from 41:55 in 2004 to 51:40 in 2013, although 2013 saw an
exceptionally large bump in ad time due to an on-the-spot decision
by CBS to re-run an entire commercial pod that first aired just
after the game was halted by the now infamous blackout.
Despite the historic cost of Super Bowl airtime, a significant
proportion of advertisers opt to spend even more by running longer
ads in order to tell more robust stories and further engage
viewers. During the 2013 game, 15 spots ran 60 seconds or longer,
including a trio of 120-second announcements. By comparison, the
normal proportion of long-form ads-i.e., longer than 30 seconds-on
broadcast networks is about 6%.
Source: Kantar Media