For one afternoon of the year, football fans have the freedom to turn up the volume of their televisions to an uncomfortable level and eat endless chips and dips. They sit and watch every moment that flashes across their screens, taking delight even in dozens of advertisements from companies hoping to capture their attention.
This year, Super Bowl LII advertisements cost about $5 million for just a 30-second spot according to a report from AdAge Datacenter. Such a price is outrageously high and only rises with each year, but advertisers are already starting to see that Super Bowl ads are an expensive gamble that may not be worth such a high cost.
If the price continues to rise, advertisers will not only stop benefitting from the beloved time slot, but the content could become less interesting to viewers.
Within the last ten years, the price for a 30-second spot has gone up nearly $2 million according to the same AdAge report. Advertisers have continued to adjust to the rising expense because the price is worth it. The Super Bowl is, after all, watched by millions of people.
However, Super Bowl LII had 103.4 million viewers, making it the least watched Super Bowl in the past eight years. Despite the fact that people are moving away from viewing their content on television and are transitioning to online content, the ad price has been steadily rising instead of stagnating.
To make matters even more challenging, consumers aren’t convinced by these commercials. Humorous and theatrical takes from companies like Pepsi and Doritos don’t sell units but instead provide extra entertainment.
After watching four different beer commercials, people aren’t suddenly going to decide they prefer a new brand over the one they’ve favored their entire lives. In fact, 80 percent of Super Bowl commercials won’t convince viewers to deviate from brands that they are already dedicated to, according to Communicus, a site that researches advertising.
Most can’t even recall what’s being advertised. If people can’t remember what’s being sold, then there’s no point in having such a coveted slot.
While people will immediately recognize a logo from Pepsi, smaller companies may not fair as well. With $5 million to pay for just a small slot, companies without an established image won’t see many benefits coming their way, which will make them less likely to take a spot.
Consumers may not find the situation very concerning, but it might be. In such a high-stakes market, advertisers have to put their best work forward in order to keep up with or beat the competition. As profits decline, a drop in content variety and theatrical value might be seen among the giant companies that have run numerous Super Bowl ads.
A large audience gives companies a reason to take the risk, but well-established ones like Nike Inc. and Chevrolet decided that the spot no longer made economic sense and decided to leave the competition altogether.
While the Super Bowl is a game that people look forward to, it’s also the little things that happen in-between — the advertisements — that truly make it a spectacle.
This year’s Amazon and Tide commercials were entertaining, giving viewers the temporary bliss of humor and wittiness. These segments wouldn’t be as lavish or exciting without their relation to the Super Bowl each year.
With the price of advertisements continuously rising, the cost may no longer be worth the benefit, and the charming tradition of revelling in grandiose commercials between segments of the most important football game of the year could be lost.