2014 Super Bowl Already Setting Records (for Ad Costs)

2014 super bowl

The NFL season’s barely under way, but next February’s Super Bowl’s already setting records – for advertising air time costs, that is.

“Super Bowl XLVIII…will air Feb. 2 on Fox from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.,” Advertising Age reported September 6. And “Fox Sports is said to be charging around $4 million for a 30-second spot.”

More for less?

What advertisers pay for when they buy television time is exposure to large consumer audiences. While the cost per thousand (CPM) doesn’t vary all that much from one network’s prime-time program to another, how many thousands of viewers does. And the ad rates reflect this.

But Super Bowl XLVIII’s may not.

Yes, it’ll probably have the largest television audience of the 2013-14 season, and that audience will probably be more evenly male/female than network television’s usual 60/40 female skew.

But if recent trends are any indication, its audience may be smaller than previous Super Bowls’.  As we noted back in February,

This year’s audience of 108.4 million was 2.9 million short of last year’s record 111.3 million – a difference larger than the entire population of Chicago.

It was also 2.6 million smaller than in 2010, the last year Fox aired the broadcast.

Advertising rates, however, are defying gravity. While CBS’s 2013 rate-card rate was a record-breaking $3.8 million for 30 seconds, Fox’s $4 million shatters that record. And advertisers have already lined up, four million bucks in hand, to get in on the game. In fact, only about 15 spots – less than eight minutes of air time – remain to be snapped up.

The lineup, so far

As of now, six advertisers are in the lineup. Two are just ordinary big spenders, with one :30 each, while the other four are big big spenders, with two-plus spots each.

  • Budweiser – Next year’s the next-to-last year of their long-term, exclusive-beer-advertiser deal. Last year they ran six spots totaling four-and-a-half minutes of air time, including a sappy :60 about a Clydesdale pony. One change for 2014 is that an honest-to-goodness advertising agency – Energy BBDO, out of Chicago – will be doing the advertising for core brand Bud Light, and the spots will be advertising, not music videos.
  • Pepsi will sponsor the halftime show again. They’ll also be running commercials during the part of the telecast that people actually watch – some for their beverage division and some, crowd-sourced as usual, for the Frito-Lay division. Instead of just highlighting the core soda brand during the NFL season, PepsiCo will be pushing its varieties – Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, and Pepsi Next – which may result in more, and more fragmented, messages.
  • Chevrolet – Two more nails in the coffin of fired global CMO Joel Ewanick’s career: reversing his departure from the Super Bowl because of cost and replacing his favorite ad agency with a McCann unit. Nobody’s disclosing how many spots or for what, but they did say that they’ll have introduced an even dozen new car and truck models between now and game time.
  • Hyundai will be back for the seventh consecutive year, and, like this year, they’ll be running a pair of :30s.
  • Oikos Greek yogurt, a Dannon brand, debuted on the Super Bowl in 2012, then benched itself this year to figure out whether the brand and the category were viable. They evidently concluded both were, with Greek accounting for 45 percent of the total yogurt market and Oikos enjoying a 26 percent share – slightly more than half of category leader Chobani’s 51 percent. Their 2012 strategy was a bit strange, using heartthrob actor John Stamos to appeal to women on this testosterone-heavy telecast, and they haven’t said whether they’ll bring him, or the strategy of just saying their Greek yogurt is Greek (who’d’ve guessed?), back for next year.
  • As part of a national small-business contest, Intuit, maker of Quickbooks and TurboTax software, will award 30 seconds of third-quarter air time to the company judged to have the most compelling story to tell.

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