Last week we reported on four polls on Super Bowl ad favorites. This week, we compare the results from four more reports, as well address a question one might consider even more important: "Are Super Bowl ads worth their price tag?"
And the Winners Are?
USA Today, Ipsos, Twitter and YouTube were the sources of Super Bowl ad rankings we discussed last week. This week, we studied additional reports by TVison, Canvs, Ace Metrix and the Kellogg School to cover an even broader range of methods – from eye tracking (to measure visual attention) to an “academic framework” (to assess “strategic effectiveness”).
The findings surprised us:
- 28 different ads with positive evaluations appeared in the eight reports. Exactly half were mentioned in just one report, while six ads were cited twice.
- Six ads - Amazon, M&Ms, Toyota, Jeep, Budweiser and Indeed - were on three
- The “winners” were Cheetos and Doritos 3D – tied for the most mentioned ads on five of the eight reports.
How about the two Rocket commercials on top of the USA Today Ad Meter? They were not listed on any of the other reports.
Canvs. (2021, February 9). Super Bowl LV Superlatives: Commercial Edition.Canvs Insights: Canvs
Liffreing, Ilyse. (2021, February 9). HOW SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS SCORED ON DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA: TUESDAY WAKE-UP CALL Plus, what Big Game ads looked like in Canada. Ad Age
Northwestern Kellogg. (2021, February 7). Scoring the Ads: 2021 Results, The Kellogg 2020 Super Bowl Ad Review.
TVision. (2021, February 8). TVision's Winners from Super Bowl LV. Insights: TVision
Is Super Bowl Advertising Worth it?
Here are three articles discussing the value of Super Bowl advertising based on insights from research.
Why Marketing During the Big Game Matters
This writer says: Although the viewership peaked in 2015, the Super Bowl is still an advertiser’s dream. Reaching an audience of 100 million would still cause many marketing teams to salivate. The stakes are high, but the cost of filling a 30-second commercial slot is even higher.
- According to a 2018 study published in Marketing Science (2018), “the benefits from Super Bowl ads persist well into the year with increased sales during other sporting events.”
The authors of the study were Wesley Hartmann of Stanford University and Daniel Klapper of Humboldt University in Germany. Their study found a “substantial increase in sales in markets where Super Bowl viewing was higher during subsequent sporting events such as the NCAA’s ‘March Madness,’ NBA games, and into the MLB season. Budweiser volume and revenues can increase up to 3.9 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively, in response to Super Bowl advertising during specific later weeks, for a 10-point increase in Super Bowl ratings.”
Unlike Doritos commercials, which focus solely on the product, Budweiser’s ads rarely focus on their beer. Instead, the company shows ads that focus on horses, dogs and people — things that every viewer can find relatable.
So, are Super Bowl ads worth it? The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is “yes.” Super Bowl ads help companies in three major ways:
- The ads reach an unmatchable number of viewers.
- A CNBC survey from 2016 showed that 97% of Super Bowl viewers “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement, “I enjoy Super Bowl ads.” In a world of diverse views and opinions, obtaining such a strong consensus from an audience is nearly impossible.
- As Michael Nathanson — a partner at the firm MoffettNathanson — stated to CNBC, the Super Bowl provides “massive reach in a cluttered world where there is diminished scale.”
But, as any marketing executive will point out, the strength of your Super Bowl commercial will come down to the message you’re attempting to convey.
Source: Schnoor, A. (2021, February 3). Are Super Bowl Ads Worth It?: Why marketing during the big game matters.
Better Marketing: Medium
Yes, that $5.5m Super Bowl Ad Makes Media Sense. Jerry Daykin of GSK Consumer Healthcare asks: With so many digital alternatives, is there really a case to advertise on TV during the big game?
The Super Bowl is a night of advertising creativity but, from a media perspective, what always stands out is the price. This year, the going rate was around $5.5 million for each 30-second spot. However, there are many good reasons why a Super Bowl ad makes perfect media sense, for the right brief:
- Unique reach to light audiences – That is 100 million impressions spread across lots of different placements, which actually builds considerable frequency and thus reaches far fewer unique people. Second, the sheer size of the audience tells you they’re packing in the light TV viewers and media consumers, too. These are people who can be incredibly hard and valuable to get in front of.
Professor Rachel Kennedy at Ehrenberg-Bass institute did the math(s) last year and, contrary to more simple sums, it pretty much stacks up for a truly mass-reach brand, without further excuse required.
- Fraud-free and highly viewable – You’ll know it has run because you’ll see it on the air, and your phone will light up with messages from friends and colleagues delighted to see it too. There’s no question of viewability on that big screen. People aren’t scrolling past or clicking skip. They’re seeing the whole thing.
- Paying attention – Years of standout ads have created an expectation, which means when the ad break starts, people are leaning in. That does put pressure on a brand to come through creatively, and there’s no bigger canvas to crash and burn on, but if you pull off great creativity, you can be guaranteed people will be watching.
So, what if, ultimately, it does come down to a brand manager or CMO wanting to do something to be made famous – isn’t that our job as marketers? Sure, $5 million buys you a huge volume of clicks and performance inventory but putting that money into a Super Bowl ad buys you a significant advantage over the competition, even in those performance spaces. You should need only a cursory understanding of Les Binet and Peter Field’s work, to realise that long-term, brand-building is a critical part of growing a business, and that fame is ultimately one of the most successful drivers of that.
Source: Dakin, J. (2021, February 9). Yes, that $5.5m Super Bowl ad makes media sense: a top advertiser explains. CampaignAsia
What Research Reveals About 12 Years of Super Bowl Ads
Forbes talked to Kantar about their research, spanning over 12 years of Super Bowl ads, that revealed three objectives for the creative unit that can arm marketers with an advantage:
- Deliver a strong link between the creative and the brand.
- Emotionally engage the consumer.
- Provide a strong, relevant hook and generate meaningful and sustainable social engagement.
Forbes’ Paul Talbot recently asked Satya Menon, Managing Partner, Analytics Practice, Kantar, “After scouring through all the research, what have you discovered about the performance of Super Bowl ads that may not be widely known?”
Satya Menon: “Super Bowl advertising research validates well-known theories about how advertising works in a microcosm—notably, the power of reach, lean-forward involvement and emotional resonance.”
New launches and less established brands leverage the reach and vibrancy of the platform to build awareness and catapult themselves into the big league. Meanwhile, established brands are able to spark new interest and engagement with their consumers. With strong creative execution, they can create meaningful differentiation—either by introducing a new value proposition, showcasing a brand purpose or simply using offbeat humor to rekindle brand love.
Creating brand love, trust or regard is critical for creating a lasting impact, beyond what an average ad can deliver.
Does the ad create social engagement?
- The most effective creatives create a broader ring of influence through a spike in social conversations, both online and offline. Consumers recall compelling Super Bowl ads for years thereafter, and Super Bowl ads become a topic of conversation during and after Super Bowl games.
Are there quantifiable pros and cons of pre-release?
- Executing a campaign that builds up to the Super Bowl ad works very well, while just pre-releasing the ad without any context or story behind it, could diminish the impact of the ad when aired during the game. Again, success is based on the creative excellence of the ad. Pre-releasing works by getting people to talk about the ad before its actual aired and can get incremental, free exposures. But if the ad is not exciting enough, pre-release may just get some negative comments—or have no response at all. To advertisers, views from pre-release are an indicator of the spike they will get from the Super Bowl airing. A live test, but not very controllable.
Source: Talbot, P. (2021, January 28). What Research Reveals About 12 Years of Super Bowl Ads. Fortune
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