It’s a tradition that is almost as old as the Super Bowl itself and it’s no secret that a substantial percentage of watchers this Sunday care more about the commercials than the outcome of the game. But why is that and what’s so special and different about Super Bowl commercials compared to commercials in the regular season?
To understand the importance of Super Bowl commercials it helps to understand the importance of the Super Bowl itself. The Big Game – as it is often called – is the most watched television broadcast in the US. In fact of the top eight US TV broadcasts of all time only one was not a Super Bowl. The last game of the NFL season regularly attracts a wide and diverse audience, spanning people of all ages and genders. So if you think it’s just guys watching the Super Bowl, think again. Almost half of Super Bowl viewers are female.
Because “everyone” is watching the Super Bowl airing a commercial during the game almost guarantees hitting your target audience. Because of the overall buzz and anticipation, commercials aired during the Super Bowl receive additional airplay and exposure outside of the game as well. People WILL talk about it, no matter if they like or hate the product. In addition the commercials – if good, funny and or innovative – become something more than just an advertisement. They go viral. And viral marketing is the best kind of marketing there is. That’s why companies pay big bucks for a Super Bowl commercial slot.
How much exactly? A thirty second commercial at Super Bowl 1 in 1967 cost US $37.500. For last year’s Super Bowl one advertisement topped out at $5.84 million. The 58 spots that were shown during the broadcast all in all came with a price tag of $75 million. That is just for the time slot, mind you. The production costs of some of these commercials rival Hollywood movies.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Here are some of the best Super Bowl commercials of all time, starting with the Super Bowl Babies Choir from last year’s 50th anniversary of the event:
and its remake by James and Howard in 2010: