By Barry Janoff
January 23, 2014: The NFL's Super Bowl is big business, and getting bigger each year. But are companies getting their monies worth when it comes time to reach consumers and more than 100 million people who watch the game?
From 2004 (Super Bowl XXXVIII) through 2013 (Super Bowl XLVII), the Super Bowl generated $2.01 billion of network advertising sales from more than 130 marketers.
The ad spend during last year's Super Bowl, broadcast.on CBS $292 million, was the highest in the history of the game, according to a just-released study from marketing and research firm Kantar Media, New York. That topped the $262.5 million spend during Super Bowl XLVI on NBC and the $227.9 million spend during the Super Bowl XLV broadcast on Fox.
The average rate for a 30-second advertisement in the Super Bowl has increased by more than 70% during the past decade and hit $4 million in 2013. It’s the most expensive commercial time on TV, ahead of the Academy Awards at $1.6 million per 30-second ad, according to Kantar.
For Super Bowl XLVIII, some ads topped the $4 million mark, according to broadcast network Fox.
The past four Super Bowls have been the most ad-saturated in history, each containing more than 47 minutes of commercial time. Kantar said that includes paying sponsors, commercial messages from the NFL, and promotional announcements from the network for its own shows.
During the past five years, the top five Super Bowl advertisers spent a combined $437 million on ads during the game, accounting for 36% of total advertising revenue.
The top five spenders are: Anheuser-Busch InBev ($145.9 million), PepsiCo ($97 million), Hyundai ($67.4 million), Chrysler ($64.3 million) and Coca-Cola ($62.3 million).
Anheuser-Busch has beer category exclusivity during national broadcasts of the Super Bowl.
But that is not the case in other categories, where automakers and car-related companies, movie studios and tech-based firms account for more ad space than other areas, according to Kantar, a division of global marketing, advertising and PR firm WPP.
Following a down year during Super Bowl XLIII, when car companies spent a total of $18 million on ads, the lowest such figure since 2004, auto spend has risen dramatically. In 2010, car companies spent $29.7 million during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV, then upped their spend to $77.5 million during Super Bowl XLV.
Over the past two years, auto-related media spend has topped $90 million. The high-water mark was $94.5 million in 2012, when carmakers and related firms had a total of 13 and a half minutes of national air time during Super Bowl XLV, per Kantar Media.
That figure dropped only slightly during Super Bowl XLII to $92 million and 11 and a half minutes of national air time.
For Super Bowl XLVIII, car companies committed to the broadcast on Fox include Audi, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Although it is somewhat of an apples-to-oranges comparison, ad spend during the one-day Super Bowl broadcast has been surpassed twice in the last five years by the World Series, which generally run a week or more.
In 2009, companies spent more than $223 million during the six-game World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies and $213 million during Super Bowl XLII.
In 2011, ad spend during the seven-game World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers was $269 million, while ad spend during Super Bowl XLIV was $228 million, according to Kantar.
Last year, the Super Bowl XLVII ad spend was $44.4 million more than the ad spend during the six-game World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, the biggest such margin over the time monitored by Kantar.
Beyond the actual air time, more companies are extending their campaigns via social media.
For example, the incidence of ad hashtags in 2013 was 41% (26 ads out of 63) compared to 10% (6 of 62) in 2012.
According to Kantar, Twitter reported these ad-related hash tags generated 300,000 tweets on game day, an average of 11,500 per commercial. The comparable numbers for the 2012 game was about 81,000 total tweets for an average of 13,500 per commercial.
Twitter reported there were 24.1 million tweets about the game and halftime show. That’s 80 times more than the number of ad-related tweets, reports Kantar Media.
MetLife and Pepsi are among those companies activating during Super Bowl XLVIII that will see value via significant media value versus ad spend.
Kantar Media projects that venue sponsor MetLife will receive about $10.4 million in "Sponsorship Media Value" from the Super Bowl. The figure is based on an average 6 minutes, 35 seconds of exposure during the in-game broadcast, primarily via verbal mentions from the TV announcers.
For Super Bowl halftime sponsor Pepsi, the expected exposure time based on historical averages is 4 minutes, 31 seconds, which would equate to about $7.2 million of Sponsorship Media Value. Kantar said that exposure for the halftime sponsor comes via on-screen billboards appearing during the first and second quarter of the game, verbal mentions from the announcers and stage signage during the performance itself.
This year's Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars. The halftime show during Super Bowl XLVII, headlined by Beyoncé, attracted an average of 104 million viewers. The previous year, Madonna's halftime performance during Super Bowl XLVI attracted 111.3 million viewers.
Sponsorship Media Value, a proprietary calculation developed by Kantar Media, takes into account duration, source and prominence of the sponsor’s on-screen exposure.
Not content with the first Super Bowl in the New York Metropolitan area, the NFL has already scheduled Super Bowl XLVIX for February 2015 in University of Phoenix Stadium, the historic Super Bowl L in the San Francisco 49ers new Levi's Stadium (scheduled to open for the 2014 season) for February 2016 and Super Bowl LI for the Houston Texans' Reliant Stadium.