By Barry Janoff
February 3, 2016: Companies are spending upward of $5 million for 30-second ads on CBS during the broadcast of Super Bowl 50.
The roster is a Who's Who of brands, including Anheuser-Busch Inbev, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Chrysler and GM.
Over the past ten years, those five Super Bowl advertisers spent a combined $745 million on network advertising during the game, accounting for 31% of total advertising revenue, according to research and marketing firm Kantar Media, NY.
However, even with a potential audience topping 110 million, many marketers will get a lot less bang for their bucks than anticipated.
Only 39% of Super Bowl 50’s advertisers will score big on their Super Bowl investments, significantly lower than the 13-year historical average of 49% according to the Super Bowl 50 Ad Engagement Survey conducted by brand engagement and consumer loyalty research consultancy Brand Keys, NY.
In the cup half-filled, half-empty scenario, that means 61% of Super Bowl advertisers will not meet their goals.
“Agencies and marketers hope their ads will entertain,” Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys, founder and president, said in a statement. “And today they almost always do.
"But advertising should be judged not by entertainment ratings or social networking metrics alone, but how it performs in the marketplace," said Passikoff.
Among 33 brands included in Super Bowl 50 Ad Engagement Survey, only 13 were seen as being both engaging and entertaining.
Doritos, PayPal, Pokémon and Mountain Dew were seen as being the most engaging of the Super Bowl brands covered.
The list also includes (in alphabetical order): Amazon Echo, Butterfinger, Hyundai, Kia, Skittles (pictured above), Snickers (pictured L-R), Taco Bell, Toyota and WeatherTech.
However, beverage brands, though judged to be entertaining, were seen as "least likely to engage."
That list includes all four brands from Anheuser-Busch that will run spots during Super Bowl 50 — Bud Light, Budweiser (pictured below), Shock Top and Michelob Ultra — as well as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the latter of which also will sponsor the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show with Coldplay, Beyoncé and a cast of others.
“When it comes to Super Bowl ad playbooks, brands hope they’ll score big in five ways: big audiences, big creative, big buzz, big social networking and high levels of emotional brand engagement,” said Passikoff. “No. 5 is most important because it’s a leading-indicator of consumer behavior in the only arena that counts — the real world marketplace."
The trend to release Super Bowl creative early also comes with its pros and cons.
"The need to level the ad playing field has not been lost on marketers," said Passikoff. "Every year brands start earlier to create up-front buzz. It’s a given that ads will get noticed along with everyone else’s during the game, so pre-game sneak peeks have increased, with some spots released more than a month before the game."
According to Passikoff, ad entertainment and social networking reviews generate lots of chatter, but not always desired results.
"Watching the dial-ups-and-downs is often enthralling. But on this particular Sunday, when a brand gets into people’s living rooms or on their computers or mobile screens, it doesn’t matter how many consumers tweet, like, or share if the ad doesn’t increase emotional brand engagement levels," said Passikoff. In those cases, "What you’ve produced is a very short, very expensive movie!”
In order to assess Super Bowl ads, comments were collected via mobile software (developed by Brand Keys, in conjunction with JoopLoop) from a national sample of 3,800 men and women who are Super Bowl viewers as well as category and brand users.
Brand Keys said its strategy "measured social networking activities for brands advertising on the Super Bowl, consumers’ emotional engagement for the brand itself and the brand within the context of the Super Bowl broadcast for the 31 brands reported in the media to be Super Bowl advertisers."
“This enables us to determine whether a brand’s ad will engage and entertain, entertain only, engage but not entertain or neither engage nor entertain,” said Passikoff. “Each variable results in a different outcome for the brand. Awareness is a given!”
The bottom line for companies advertising during the Super Bow?
According to Passikoff, "Does the ad engage and build the brand? Does it drive brand share and sales? If so, you’ll see positive bottom line impact, even if the advertising wasn’t as entertaining as envisioned. A brand that can both engage and entertain is usually a real Super Bowl winner.”