Why is the Super Bowl so important to marketers?

Jan 29, 2016 15:28:47 PM

The 2015 Super Bowl is this weekend – Sunday night into Monday morning for us in the UK.

Just to keep you all up to speed, this year it is between the Seattle Seahawks (won last year and widely considered to have one the greatest defences in the game) against the New England Patriots (coming into the game with an extremely strong offence but surrounded in controversy with accusations of ball tampering).

The Super Bowl is the single biggest fixture on the US sporting calendar. For those who don’t know what this is, it is the American football equivalent of the UEFA Champions League – winning is the ultimate goal for all of the competing teams.

Seahawks win the superbowl - Why is the Super Bowl so important to marketers?

TV viewing figures

Due to its popularity, the spectacle attracts some of the highest viewing figures of any televised programme in the year. Inevitably, TV advertising during the breaks is hotly contested and among the most expensive slots available. This generally means that only the biggest players with the biggest budgets are going to be in a position to bid.

In 2014, the Super Bowl was watched by 111.5 million people, according to Neilson.com. By all accounts, this made it the most watched programme in American television history.

There are few, if any, other ways to reach this many prospects in one go.

The cost

But what did it cost to get in on the action? It was reported that FOX, who held the broadcasting rights to the 2014 game, were looking for around $4 million for a 30-second slot.

In fact if you Google it, the Google Knowledge Graph comes back with this snippet.

the cost of a superbowl ad according to google - Why is the Super Bowl so important to marketers?


So, we have discovered how many people will watch your ad and what the slot is going to cost you, but what are the big spenders getting in return?

Human interaction

Not only is the Super Bowl a hot topic in bars, homes and offices around the US and more increasingly here in the UK, but the adverts have come to have their own level of expectation and generate just as much discussion.

Whilst we can’t know how many people actually spoke about the ads before, during and after the game, we can report on the digital conversations that are happening.

The amazing guys at Neilson have put together this awesome infographic chronicling the entire Super Bowl.

Tweets over time

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Whilst the headline stats are staggering, what I really love here is how they have aligned the brand tweets with the game tweets. From this we can see that at 7:26PM, the adverts for Bud Light, T-Mobile, Weathertech and Transformers generated 68,000 tweets. Not bad for a 2 minute ad break.

The real winner though, was Esurance which featured in the post-game ad break: 224,000 tweets.

What ads were talked about the most?

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As we saw previously, Esurance won big in the post-game, but what about everyone else?

Well, Budweiser came in second with 393,700 tweets, followed by T-Mobile (303,200) and H&M (269,200). What is also interesting is how film makers are prepared getting in on the action; three film adverts will be shown this year.

Whilst the advertiser list is predominantly consumer focussed, many of these brands have a strong business offer. E.g. for any automotive company, this an opportunity get in front of both their consumer and business markets.

Intuit recently ran an undercover B2B campaign – whilst appearing to run a B2C campaign, it was actually promoting its QuickBooks product to the thousands of small business owners who were watching. Adage reports that by shifting the focus of the ad, they reached far more of the audience than they would have done otherwise.

For those with the necessary budget, the Super Bowl is an opportunity to go big and become part of the natural conversations happening around the US; without having to be invasive.

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