Touchdown! Advertising at The Super Bowl

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It’s September. In my house at least, that means the start of the NFL. For the next 5 months, Sunday nights are spent watching Red Zone, culminating in the Super Bowl when I’ll finally get my TV back. While the game might not be my favourite thing in the world, the adverts and the hype around the Super Bowl are fascinating… and expensive.

The Super Bowl: super ads, super expensive

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League. It’s also one of the largest advertising platforms in the world. Big brands are willing to blow their budget to get an ad slot during the game, and with more than 111 million people tuning in live you can see why. They’re the perfect captive audience…so long as you have the budget. Back in 1967 when the first Super Bowl was played, a one-minute advert cost between $75,000 and $85,000. At Super Bowl LII, you could be expected to pay an astronomical $5 million for a 30-second advert. With such a short window of time and a huge cost, adverts need to stick with the viewer.

You win some, you lose some

As with any adverts, there will always be some that the audience will love and remember… and some that they just hate. Adverts from the 2017 Super Bowl were analysed by Lucid and Realeyes and given an overall score according to their attraction, retention, engagement and impact. Here are some of best loved (and loathed!) ads from Super Bowl LII.

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The good

In 2017, the Super Bowl adverts that people remembered and enjoyed the most were the funny ones– unsurprising considering the political situation. The best performing advert was actually the NFL’s own Touchdown Celebrations to Come advert. More than just a great parody, celebrations in the NFL were quite strictly regulated until last year, so a little in-joke with the fans seems to have worked.

Another successful pick from 2017 was Alexa Loses Her Voice– a personal favourite of mine. Take a world reliant on technology, remove it and replace it with some celebrities: carnage ensues.

And the not-so-good

As expected, there were some ads that just missed the mark.

It appears that Super Bowl viewers weren’t into the emotional advert that drinks giant Coca-Cola came up with for Super Bowl LII. Focusing on inclusivity rather than humour, The Wonder of Us advert tanked, ranking 9th worst NFL ad according to the Realeyes database.

While Stella Artois’s Water.Org advert highlights a serious problem in the world today, it’s not particularly hard-hitting. It doesn’t stay with you and it’s even a little bit boring. It’s not a bad advert– it just doesn’t stand out enough to make you remember it or follow up on it, especially when surrounded by impactful, best-of-breed adverts like the rest of the Super Bowl’s selections.

Super Bowl LIII

With the next Super Bowl taking place in February 2019, the predictions on what brands will do with their adverts have been rife. From Amazon’s Alexa commentating the game and Google Homes interrupting her the whole way through, to the Blue Man Group playing instruments made entirely out of Pepsi cans, there’s really no telling what brands will come up with next. But one thing is certain: it’s going to be really expensive.

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