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Is Super bowl advertising super effective ?

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About 140 million Americans and 700 million total global viewers tune in to Super Bowl Sunday, making the event one of the largest occasions for home entertainment. Advertising time during the Super Bowl is limited and priced at a premium. The fight for the prime spots starts months in advance of the actual airtime. In 1993, the cost for a 30 - second time slot was a high $850,000, but by 1997 the cost had shot to $1.2 million for the same short time frame. In 1998, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl cost $1.3 million. In 2000, a 30-second spot during the Super bowl cost companies a record average of $2.2 million. companies that have since failed or are struggling to keep their heads above water purchased forty percent of the Super Bowl ad slots in 2000. For the 2001 Super Bowl XXXVI, the average rate for an advertising spot was approximately 2.1 million.

In 2002, during Super Bowl XXXVI, Fox Network offered 60 commercial spots for a total of 30 minutes of advertising time. The average selling price for each 30-second spot was just under $2 million, at $ 1.9 million each. Companies who paid for commercial time during Super Bowl XXXVI included Anheuser- Busch, who purchased ten 30 - second spots, Pepsi Co, who featured one 90-second commercial starring Britney Spears, E-trade, M & M/Mars, AT & T Wireless, Levi Strauss, Yahoo, Visa and fast food chains Quizno's Taco Bell, and Subway are among others.

Although Fox did end up selling all of the available ad spots, the network did not sell the final ad until the Thursday before the game. There are several reasons for the selling delay and for the reduced rates in 2002. First, marketers were facing the "worst advertising recession in recent memory." This caused companies to carefully monitor how they spent their advertising budgets and many decided that the money could be better applied elsewhere. Many companies chose to advertise during other prime time events that were more affordable. The average rate for a 30-second spot during the early evening news in 2002 was $45,900. Even events such as the Golden Globes (estimated price $45,000 per 30-second spot), the Grammies (estimated price $57,000 per 30-second spot), and the Academy Awards (estimated price $1.6 million per 30-second spot) offer companies ad time at lower rates. However, these events do not draw as many viewers as the Super Bowl. Secondly, the NFL, for the first time, sponsored a pre-game show on the Friday night before the Super Bowl. Some companies, such as AOL Time Warner, Phillip Morris, Miller Brewing Co., and Motorola chose to avoid paying "television's highest commercial prices" and bought ad time for lower rates during the pre-game show. A final reason for lower rates and less marketer interest in Super Bowl ad time was competition from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The games began just five days after the Super Bowl and offered 17 days of events during which advertisers could buy commercial time. The average selling rate for a 30-second prime time spot during the Olympics was only $600,000, a bargain compared to the Super Bowl.

Is Super Bowl advertising worth the cost? For many advertisers who bought time slots in previous games the answer was a resounding no. Nissan, Porsche, Fila and MCI passed on the chance to advertise during the game. According to marketing consultant Jack Trout, the increasing rates made buying Super Bowl ad time difficult to justify. Nissan marketing Chief Brad Bradshaw stated that although the company had intended to advertise during the game, it came to the conclusion that the resources could be better used to sell its vehicles in other ways.

In addition to the cost factor, many question what effect advertising actually has on the audience. The purpose of an advertisement is to increase customer awareness



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