What is the Return on Investment for a Superbowl Commercial?

The amount of viewers of the Superbowl makes the Superbowl the most expensive place to advertise. For 30 seconds of air time, a company can pay $3.8 million to place an ad where the over 100 million people watching the game will see it. Does such an expensive advertising spot pay off?

Advertisement Quality

A large part of the success of any advertisement depends on the ad itself. There are good advertisements and bad ones all over television, not just during the Superbowl. $3.8 million to place an ad during the Superbowl does no good if no one can tell what the advertisement is selling. However, the high cost of ad space during the most-viewed game of the year ensures quality in its advertisements. Therefore, if a company receives a high ROI on their advertisement, it could have less to do with the ad space itself and more to do with how good the advertisement was because of the high cost of air time.
In 1984, Apple ran an ad during the Superbowl that related to the game and truly appealed to the viewers. Within 90 days, they sold 90% more of their product than they had thought they would from that advertisement.

Similarly, Ram Trucks ran a very good commercial last year that was not only captivating to anyone watching, but already knew its target market and spoke only to them, not trying to convince anyone of anything. Its use of storytelling made it a popular ad even after its run during the Superbowl.

Relevancy of Products

According to Charles Tomkovick, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, two thirds of the companies that advertise during the Superbowl gain brand awareness and sales. However, the type of company or product being advertised is a factor in how well it does. Products such as cold medicine and credit cards don’t experience the increase in sales that a feature film does, for example. In fact, a feature film advertised during the Superbowl will make 30-40% more during its first weekend in theatres than the average movie does.

Do products and companies advertised during the Superbowl experience enough ROI to make shelling out the millions worth it? The truth is, it depends. Companies advertising during the Superbowl can experience a significant ROI. However, they usually have to be advertising a car, a film, or something significant to the audience, instead of something typical such as medicine. And like with any ad space, the advertisement has to be well done and clever in order to attract its audience.

Ronn Torossian 5WPR CEO and author of best selling PR Book ‘For Immediate Release’, understands that; before you layout the money for a huge AD Spend – make sure the ROI makes sense. Remember: look before you leap!

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