prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

The Eight Million Dollar Minute

Posted by prof e on February 2, 2013

youtube-superbowl-ad-blitz-gameCompanies who want to be a player in this year’s Super Bowl are going to have to pony up some serious cash…somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.8 million dollars for a 30-second spot.  That makes the Super Bowl the most expensive advertising venue out there. So why do advertisers continue to line up to get in the game? And what do they get in return for their money?

TV’s largest audience for starters. Nielsen reported 111.3 million Americans watched last year’s game. An advertiser would have to buy a 30-second spot in each of the nine top-rated network TV shows last week (American Idol, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, 60 Minutes, Criminal Minds, CSI, Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, and the NFL Pro Bowl) to get a comparable number of eyeballs. Or, they could buy a 30-second spot in each of the 30 top-rated cable TV shows to get a similar “reach.”

But a Super Bowl spot is about more than raw numbers. There’s a certain prestige that comes along with being part of this American tradition. There’s also an indirect stock market gain for participating companies that is apparently part of the equation, at least according to a study reported in Kiplinger. There’s also the tradition of Super Bowl spots that live on in infamy. The 1984 90-second spot for the Apple Macintosh is still considered by many to be the greatest TV spot of all time.

And here’s another factor that some advertisers (and would-be advertisers) have exploited to their benefit. An ad that is controversial–too racy or racist for example–can ride the coat tails of the Super Bowl buzz at a fraction of the price it would have cost the advertiser to buy the time. These controversial spots can be uploaded to YouTube, or any of several other internet sites, and have a life of their own…even if they never aired! Go Daddy has played this game as well as anyone in recent years.

Mildly controversial spots can also benefit from all the talk…even if some of the talk is critical. Arabs are insulted by this year’s Coke spot…and Jamaicans are (or are not depending on who you ask) offended by the VW spot. I suspect some will be offended by the Kate Upton spot for Mercedes-Benz.

More and more advertisers are pre-releasing their ads to try to generate hype prior to game day…and often to good effect. Two years ago VW’s little Darth Vader spot was seen by more than 17 million viewers before it actually aired. Last year 34 out of 54 spots were released online before the game.

The other big news in Super Bowl ads is interactivity. Coke wants you to pick the ending of their spot. Doritos invited consumer-generated spots to compete, and then asked us to vote for the winner. And YouTube has their AdBlitz channel ready to go…inviting live voting on all the spots as they air. Which means for many of you the Super Bowl will be a two-screen experience. And with two screens, at least you’ll have something to do if the game is a dud.


18 Responses to “The Eight Million Dollar Minute”

  1. Edward Kusi-Mensah said

    If companies can see the potential increase in revenue by advertising their materials on a 30second ad on top rated channel and are willing to pay huge amounts of money then they must have done their research. If research has not been done no one will pay a large amount of money to buy a 30second ad to try and sell their products via television. The idea behind spending a large amount of money just to advertise is insane, this money can be put to better use, it can be used to save lives. Why spend so much money to buy a 30second air time when most of the consumers are not interested in the item, they just watch it for the fun of it. This topic is relevant to the class because we have previously talked about the affect of media and the large amount of influence it has on consumers. If companies can successfully advertise their products on T.v two in five people would feel the need to go out and buy that product.

  2. Katie England said

    The television is considered a passive form of media, but now some advertisers are attempting to turn it into an active form of media. The coke commericial was probably the most obvious example of this, as it didn’t really end, but asked the viewers to choose an ending for the spot. This gives the viewers a way to not just watch an ad, but interact with it as well. It’s a brilliant advertising strategy, as it keeps a viewer from simply watching the ad and then forgetting about it. Now, they are invested in it and want to see if the ending they voted for wins. This way, they will be checking back in on the ad at a later time.

  3. Shelby Goodrich said

    Television commercials are usually not given any attention, or often fast forwarded through while watching your favorite show. For this reason, a 30 second spot in the Super Bowl might be the greatest investment a company can make. With TiVO, commercials can be competely skipped over, but the commercials during the super bowl are so publicized that most people will take time to watch them. This may be the only way to get a commerical seen in today’s society. Even if your spot is not of “high quality” it will still be watched. That is the whole goal of a TV commercial, to get your name and product out there. If this can be done efficently, how could it be a bad investment? I don’t think it would be.

  4. Television is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to media. So by advertising a company or busiess on television this is a very great tool. There are certain times of the day that are better advertise a company than others. By using a 30 – 60 second spot to advertise a company during the Super Bowl has to be one of the greatest investments a company can invest in. The Super Bowl is the most watched event on television. Some watch this event for the game and some even watch it just for the commercials. When many people watch television, they usually change the channel when commercials come on, but for the Super Bowl, this event is expected to have great commercials. Also, the Super Bowl takes place during income tax season, so for some, this is when many people make larger purchases than usual. So why not advertise your product or business? This is a great investment.
    – Jeremy Valdez

  5. Katelyn Murley said

    A lot of people own a television. It seems to be a common household item now just like a microwave or a toaster. Commercials that do not draw in the viewer are often skipped over or ignored, but during events like the Super Bowl, its almost like everyone looks forward to watching the commercials. Some people watch the game just to watch the funny commercials that they have been waiting for all year. I don’t think it’s a bad idea for a company to invest millions of dollars just for a 30 second spot, my friends and I are still talking about the Doritos goat commercial. If the company creates a commecial that grabs the attention of the viewers and is aimed toward human interest, there is no doubt that their money isn’t going to waste and they will get the reaction they had hoped for.

    Katelyn Murley

  6. Chelsea Aragon said

    Television commercials are the most popular forms of advertisement. I agree with Jeremy that the reason companies pay so much for a 30 second spot during the Superbowl is because people actually watch those commercials. I can contribute that when I watch t.v and the commercials come on I usually change the channel. Also I usually don’t have time, so I record most of my programs so I can fast forward through the commercials. The significance of the Superbowl is that there are 111.3 million viewers. Considering this vast audience it is reasonable to understand why they pay so much for a 30 second commercial to be aired. This is why so many people WANT to watch Superbowl commercials because they are expected to exceed expectations. This issue relates to this class because the advertisements and techniques we observe are just the media techniques that we are studying.

  7. Sarah w. said

    .I feel that some people now days focus more on the ads vs. the game itself. I know that I heard talk that people just wanted to watch to see the ads this year rather that the game because their teams were not playing. However I do feel that this is a good way to get the word out and have an effect on the audience and it is a good way of reaching the target audience for a company. The things like the YouTube voting and even the voting for the best Doritos commercial also increased the impact that the media has on us as individuals and our views of the product because then it becomes about us and not just the product. The way you see a product I feel is determined a little by the way it is advertised. I would not go buy a shirt that did not look cute in the commercial. Just like I am not going to eat food that does not look good. I feel that advertisements and how we view things we see in the media is the very basis of this class. It is showing us the different types and ways media can be seen and interpreted to every people

  8. Leroy M. said

    The ways in which advertisers motivate viewers to notice and remember their product has becoming obviously more creative, which we’ve seen through companies mentioned above like the Go-Daddy trailers one must follow-up on at another active form of medium to fully view. Or the Coca-Cola commercial in this years Super Bowl that enabled viewers to feel more involved in the ad rather then just sitting and watching it by allowing them to follow a story-line that arrested the attention of many viewers. The underlying common factor here is the direction of advertising and how its changed. It seems more and more companies are allowing their viewers to ultimately dictate the ads they broadcast. In the now this is an awesome advertising strategy, but could it actually be minute to what interactive advertising could potentially hold in the future? Certain companies, as we’ve learned, are willing to spend millions and chance a possible stock market gain overall when a stage like the Super Bowl is an option.

  9. Trysten Garcia said

    This is just really a testament as to how rapidly the popularity of the television has grown as well as the capabilities of what is on them. The advertisers now are not just in the business to advertise their product, but to entertain the general public. As great as the Dodge “Farmer” commercial was, I have a hard time believing that many people got up and bought a new truck after that spot. Not only do the advertisers seem to care more about popularity these days, but their commercial has to be superior in every way. Coke is trying to pave the way for interactive commercials, all the while I found myself forgetting what it was even about. The advancement is just crazy, but along with those advancements come what I would consider regressions in the case of the advertisers effectively getting their message across. To pay that kind of money to simply entertain your audience and stir up a few discussions seems a little crazy.

    -Trysten Garcia

  10. Benjamin Hultman said

    Television is huge in media, and even in 2013 television has changed significantly from commercials to movies. It’s really all about what the consumer wants to hear, opinions get in the way whether it would be too racist, or sexist. I think depending on who you are is whether you don’t like a certain commercial spot, but also as consumers we want what we want. I definitely agree that some of the commercials during the super bowl we’re hilarious, disturbing, and a waste of time. But in our generation today, that’s all commercial are really made of. And as businesses they don’t care how much money they spend as long as they make their product there selling to the consumer “good”. I think in the future businesses will keep spending more and more money on their commercials especially during the super bowl.

  11. Dale Adade said

    This is obviously that the actual football game is really not important anymore in mass media; it everything else surrounding it. The commercials have become the staple of the program. The fact that companies now are going so far enough as to put their financial well-being, integrity, and reputation on the line for these crucial amount of seconds/minutes is amazing. They are constantly trying to have that one commercial that raises the most eyebrows, and do the most thinking. If they are they get to be talked about for the next week or two. It is understandable why they would take part in this, think of the customers it would bring if everything is successful. It could really raise the stock for the company. I also think coke has started something that is sure going to advance in the years to come, maybe contest where the viewer will win a prize next. I think with the digital world we are coming into the possibilities are endless.

  12. Daniel Bays said

    I like this what was said in this blog and thitnk that people pay so much for these spots durring the superbowl because people remember theses adds for years. Yes, you can purchase a spot with the same number of viewers with other shows but people watch the superbowl just to see the advertisments and who realy remembers what advertisments aired during NCIS. I think that the amount of money people pay for a slot is rediculous but that is because I do not make that kind of money and do not have a companie that could aford to put an advertisment on durring the superbowl. So If to say that being able to place an add on during the superbowl makes you and eleat company then just the price of a slot proves that. Your company has to be doing well to aford a slot.

  13. Paige Ramm said

    Commercials during the Super Bowl are sometimes more anticipated than the game itself, depending on who you ask. Spending this much money on a commercial may be outrageous to some people but this is the one slot if you can afford, you should. Most companies see the payoff of their commercial being aired during the Super Bowl because people are waiting for that certain ad to come on. Some marketers tell us the more times you see a brand, the more likely you are to buy the product. So if companies produce an ad that we want to watch over and over, it may turn a huge profit in the long run. This particular event goes to show you just how much the television and anticipation of this event has evolved over the years. You go from taking a simple championship football game and almost turning it into a national holiday just because of the commercials and the ‘big game.’ People may not like the commercial, but everybody will have an opinion about something. There isn’t going to be one commercial that everybody absolutely loves or hates. You have to take chances and gamble a little. As a company this is a huge opportunity to grow and expand their business.

  14. Jalen Hughes said

    I believe that people to the ads that happen during the super bowl too serious now and days. It seems like people watch the super bowl for the commercials instead of the actual game itself. People are paying too much money to get their spot during the super bowl because at the end of the day do they really make a profit of it back. Don’t get me wrong the commercials during the super bowl are very entertaining and memorable but the super bowl is meant for football to be played at its best not for commercials. To me they are saying that the football game isn’t important so much, they just want to make money off of it. This isn’t fair for the players and coaches that deserve the attention because they worked hard and played hard to get to the super bowl. It also isn’t important to the fans that actual do care and want to see a good game.

  15. Ivan Dorcey said

    Every year, depending on the person, you hear people talk about what they are most excited for about the Super Bowl and it is always between the game and the commercials. Some are excited for the pre-game shows and performance or even the half-time performance. The Super Bowl is the most watched program on television every year so it is the perfect time to show these commercials, though the price is extremely high for just 30 seconds. It all can be worth it, if the commercial is memorable then they already succeeded. When I watch commercials I really enjoy the humorous ones, if they can make me laugh I might want to eat some Doritos or a Snickers. Then again maybe you just enjoyed it and thats it, so it can be risky for the companies. I also noticed we see the same companies every year so it seems you have to be really successful for even a shot to show your commercial, if they are already so successful, why waste the money on the ad during the Super Bowl and pay cheaper for any other time slot? Just a thought. I think Coke trying to interact with the people is a good idea, its different than everything else and it will also bring us back to the product because like Coke was allowing us to do was to finish their ad.

  16. Elysa Espinoza said

    The pricing for a 30 second spot is outrageous! However I’m sure that 3.8 million spot is more than worth it. When people watch the Super Bowl the 3 things they look forward to most are the game itself, the halftime show, and the commercials. According to Jessie Heiman, in the Go Daddy commercial for this years Super Bowl, the business got a lot of buzz and sales shot up. Although this commercial had more negative attention, it was successful because it caught the world by surprise and made it one of the most talked about commercials, especially through social media such as facebook and twitter which hash tagged it as “the kiss”. Although I am not as sure, I would assume they are taking in more than they are putting out, so that 3.8 million 30 second spot brought more success than harm. The whole point of advertisers fighting over these spots is because they know they will reach their targeted audience at this time, and because they know how much potential success they might receive just being noticed. With the Super Bowl being the most watched live event on television, it is where all the ads should invest, they know they wont really ever be MORE paid attention to then during one of the worlds most popular events.

  17. Advertisers spend so much money just to get a spot for the Super Bowl since millions will be watching and paying more attention to the commercials then the actual game at times, since it’s also very active by having viewers voting online for some of the commercials. But with every commercial and product they’re trying to entice the viewers with, everyone will have their own opinion; whether it be offending a group of people or if people just love it, advertisers just want people to remember them for the way they executed their commercial and their product.

  18. Rosa Ramos said

    For some advertisers the best way to sell their products and services is by airing a spot in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is watched by millions of Americans every year and I personally know a few people that rather watch the commercials than the game.
    “Americans would never have the high standard of living that they now have, nor the products they take for granted, were it not for the industrial completion that commercialism has encouraged” (Turow, 549). Turow says that Americans wouldn’t have as much as they do now if it wasn’t for commercials which I agree with. Television provides both picture and audio, making it more attractive to viewers as well as listeners. to Having a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl is always set at a high cost and it is amazing to see how much money will actually be put out for that spot. Advertisers know that they have a good viewing audience and everyone is intrigued during the commercials of the game.
    After reading the this post, I logged on to watch some of the top rated videos on YouTube, just because I have never personally actually viewed an entire Super Bowl game or commercial during the game. I must say they are quite entertaining and are definitely easy to remember.
    A “Culture Today- Super Bowl Ads: Beyond the Hype” spot in Turow’s book, notes that not all companies want to actually have their commercials aired on the Super Bowl, but actually, send in their commercials and then later have them denied a slot. Being denied can also make it easier and cheaper for them to post it somewhere online and receive viewership there because of the level of interest people are going to have on why it was denied.
    Overall I think the Super Bowl is a great place for advertisement for both a company and consumer they are both getting what they want from the commercial spot.

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