Is It Worth Spending $4 Million On A Super Bowl Commercial?
Kia will feature its “Space Babies” commercial during the 2013 Super Bowl and hopes to have the most memorable ad among all automakers. (Photo credit: Kia Motors America)
Immediately after the Baltimore Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game and the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship, the talk turned to the “HarBowl,” a rare Super Bowl match-up between head coaches birthed by the same mother. While HarBowl chatter has yet to subside and will continue to be a topic of conversation until well after the Super Bowl’s conclusion, it has been momentarily been pushed aside for talk of the game within the timeouts of the game – Super Bowl commercials.
Despite the fact that 30-second television advertisements during the Super Bowl sell for approximately $4 million, the game will be streamed online and on smartphones, and many viewers will be staring at their Twitter feeds during breaks in the action, all of the ad space is said to be sold out. Digital continues to grow, as does the cost to advertise on the Super Bowl, yet demand for the coveted 30-second spot has remained. Is there a threat of that changing in the near future?
“Demand for ads on TV won’t change, but we will see more creative media buys,” explained Craig Elimeliah, RAPP’s
VP of Technology and Digital Solutions to Forbes.com. ”As we move into the future, we will see some synergy between social media like Twitter and networks such as NBC, ABC, and CBS, with tighter synergies where the ad placements will have those social tie-ins. You may actually see – similar to companion banners on websites – a TV spot with a companion social spot where the person in a commercial actually sends a live Tweet on Twitter while the commercial is airing. It only takes one brand to do it; I think we will start seeing that next year.”
It will likely be necessary for advertising agencies to build in those social ties to Super Bowl commercials, because the traditional nature of turning on a television to watch the Big Game with buddies and friends simply no longer exists. Today, it is all about the second screen experience and consuming content provided by others around the world while sharing one’s own thoughts, pictures and video with his followers on Super Bowl Sunday. Advertisers could label the second screen as a distraction, but ad executives tend to disagree, with a caveat that the advertisement should look and feel nothing like the traditional commercial.
David Steinberg, Founder and CEO of XL Marketing
, says that advertisers need to have a greater goal than simply wanting to get the best bang for their buck out of the purchase of a Super Bowl spot. ”It should be about the caché of a Super Bowl ad, which really drives the digital campaign,” said Steinberg to Forbes.com. ”There are really two ways to go about creating an effective Super Bowl ad – focus on humor or touching the heart of the American people. If you do it right, peoples’ use of Twitter and Facebook during commercial breaks enhance the value of the ad. But it should not start and end with reach. Online, you can buy the same audience you reach at the Super Bowl for less than 25% of that amount.”
It is possible that brands benefit as they would without spending the excessive amount of money on Super Bowl ads, but Steinberg says that those brands need to have an exceptionally creative (and rare) campaign to get the type of caché that comes with a Super Bowl ad without spending the $4 million+. One practice that he advises against is the all-too-common lazy approach of companies taking their existing advertisements that people have seen and are tired of, and putting them on the Super Bowl. Steinberg says that strategy is the biggest waste of money.
Overall, the general consensus from advertising agency executives is that the large spend on Super Bowl commercials is worth the price tag…if executed efficiently. ”Because the Super Bowl is the biggest stage for advertisers to connect with consumers, it really behooves brands to form some sort of connection of affinity – it’s the biggest stage with the most eyeballs watching and these are ads that people aren’t going to miss because they have to go to the bathroom,” added David Angelo, Chief Creative Officer and founder ofDavid & Goliath
. Angelo, whose company has produced spots this year for Kia and describes the company as a “challenger brand,” explains that the rise of digital does not diminish the value of Super Bowl commercials. Instead, it holds brands accountable for their messages. ”The social sphere is making it easier for consumers to call B.S. on brands then ever before. It has given them a platform where they can call you out if they feel like they’re being sold to or you’re not telling the truth or the brand message isn’t fresh. They’re the first people to say it.”