In the very beginning, Super Bowl commercials were not all that expensive, with a 30-second spot costing a moderate amount of money. In recent years, however, the cost of advertising during the Super Bowl has increased.
Is it worth the money? We'll explore that in a moment.
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The first Super Bowl, which took place in 1967, had 30-second commercials that cost less than $40,000. However, as the popularity of the event grew, so did the cost of advertising during it. By the early 2000s, a 30-second Super Bowl commercial was already costing over $2 million, and for the 2022 Super Bowl, NBC announced that it was selling ads for a record-breaking $6.5 million per 30-second commercial, an increase from the previous year's $5.5 million.
Despite the high cost, advertisers continue to view Super Bowl commercials as a worthwhile investment. With millions of viewers tuning in to watch the game, advertisers have the opportunity to reach a large and diverse audience in a single broadcast. Of course, there are both pluses and minuses to something like that. A niche advertiser might be overpaying. But if it's company looking to reach across all demographic groups, it can be ideal.
The high cost of advertising during the Super Bowl may be seen as a sign of its continued relevance and value to advertisers, who are willing to pay the high price for a chance to make a lasting impression on viewers.
And here is something that can't be ignored - because the high viewership of the Super Bowl is more or less a given, and by now the commercials have become a considerable part of the fabric of the event, it is well established that a lot of viewers are tuning in just to see the ads. And in that way it is a television event that is completely unique in America.
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, has expressed that Super Bowl commercials are underpriced. He believes that even at a cost of $5 million or more, Super Bowl commercials should cost quite a bit more than they do. Vaynerchuk's company was started as a social media marketing and advertising entity, but he has also produced Super Bowl commercials, so he knows whereof he speaks.
He further suggests that if someone had $25 million to sell something, he would look at Super Bowl commercials first, followed by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube ads.
Aside from the top figure of $7 million that Fox is charging for a 30-second spot, there are production costs that could easily exceed a few million. Then, if the advertiser is using celebrity talent, that is going to add millions more to the tab. So these companies are not just paying for airtime.
What you are not likely to see are companies spending on crypto-related businesses. Remember that with the FTX collapse and subsequent scandal, not only did the value of Bitcoin and other digital currencies drop, but the bad publicity makes them a little toxic at the moment. So Coinbase, eToro and Crypto.com will be missing from this year's lineup. FTX also bought a commercial for last year's game, if you recall, and Larry David, who appeared as talent in the ad, was sued for his participation.
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