Super Bowl ads bring in billions, while rates rise 40%

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 14-02-2012

In honour of the latest Super Bowl ad figures—some reportedly went for as much as $3.5 million for a 30-second spot—Kantar Media has assembled statistics for the annual Big Game from 2002 through 2011.
Overall for that time period, the Super Bowl generated $1.72 billion of network advertising sales from more than 125 marketers, while the average rate for a 30-second advertisement in the Super Bowl has increased by 40% during the past decade.
The top five Super Bowl advertisers of the past 10 years have spent $636.6 million on advertising during the game, accounting for 37% of total advertising revenue. Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo lead the pack, followed by General Motors, Walt Disney and Coca-Cola.
The actual amount paid by individual marketers varies depending on where the ad runs in the game, how much commercial time is purchased and whether the advertiser opts for a larger package that includes spots in the pre-game and/or post-game coverage. Over the past ten years, the volume of commercial time in the game has been edging upwards even as the price of advertising has become more expensive.
The FOX telecast of the 2011 Super Bowl contained 46 minutes, 10 seconds of network ads, the second largest amount in history. This included paying sponsors, commercial messages from the NFL, plus “house ads” aired by Fox to promote its own shows. A total of 96 individual messages were aired.
Despite the high cost of air time in the Super Bowl, a significant proportion of advertisers opt to spend extra by running longer length commercials in an effort to further engage viewers and boost return on investment. In each of the past four years, there have been at least ten advertisements of 60 seconds or longer. By comparison, the normal proportion of long form ads on a broadcast network is about 6%.

Typically about 20% of the Super Bowl ad line-up is composed of first-time advertisers, providing "a steady influx of new faces eager for the recognition and brand-building opportunity of the Super Bowl spotlight," Kantar said. In 2011 the proportion dropped to 14% as only four marketers (Best Buy, CarMax, Groupon and made their debut, the fewest since 2003.

Three marketers offered first-time participation for the 2012 game: Century 21, Dannon and the movie studio Relativity Media.
The flow of first-time advertisers has produced a parallel trend: An expanding parade of small marketers who invest a hefty chunk of their annual budget in the Super Bowl. In 2011, nearly one-third of the Super Bowl advertisers put more than 10% of their full-year media budgets into the game.
The most leveraged sponsor in the 2011 Super Bowl was CareerBuilder. Its estimated 2011 total ad spending was $9.8 million and the Super Bowl accounted for $3.1 million (31%) of the amount. HomeAway (29%) and (23%) rounded out the top three companies in this ranking.

Over the past decade, the Super Bowl has attracted a bevy of different movie studio, automotive and dot-com companies, making these the most populous and competitive ad categories.
The 2011 Super Bowl smashed all records for auto manufacturer advertising with a staggering $77.5 million spent on 18 messages for nine different brands. The 2012 game had another glut of car ads, with eight different auto nameplates (Audi, Cadillac, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Volkswagen) going head-to-head. Total spend numbers are not yet in.
Major League Baseball’s World Series and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship are two other high profile sporting events that attract significant interest from TV advertisers. The World Series is comprised of four to seven games. March Madness peaks with the semi-finals and championship on its final weekend, a total of three games. The Super Bowl, of course, is a single telecast. In recent years, it has been pulling away from March Madness and exceeds the World Series in years when the Fall Classic lasts five games or fewer.