The Super Bowl marks the year’s biggest day for advertising, with top brands paying millions to get their messages in front of a television audience that reliably attracts more than 100 million viewers.
Over the years, the cost of a 30-second advertisement has soared, making the Super Bowl the costliest advertising venue on TV. Because the Super Bowl is one of the few events that draws an audience of this size, companies are willing to shell out millions to promote their brands during NFL showcase.
Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of Super Bowl ad costs.
This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads will feature dozens of top brands, from Anheuser-Busch’s iconic Clydesdales to Uber Eats’ spot featuring Jennifer Aniston and Victoria and David Beckham. If you answered that the cost of a 30-second ad this year is $7 million, you’re right. That’s about on par with last year’s game, but represents a 55% jump from 2019.
This year’s advertisers are not only spending $7 million to buy half a minute of airtime, but are also opening their wallets to secure stars like Aniston and Snoop Dogg, as well as on glitzy productions. And many companies post their ads ahead of the Super Bowl, hoping to build buzz and catpure attention. (You can see some of the pre-released Super Bowl ads here.)
“I try not to think about the money,” director Charles Kidd II, known as Calmatic, told CBS News. He’s got a 60-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl for restaurant chain Popeye’s that features actor and comedian Ken Jeong,
Calmatic added, “Sometimes I don’t even want to know what the budget is, like just, ‘Let me create.’ We have to snap back to reality and be like, ‘Alright, everyone is going to see this.'”
Super Bowl LVIII will broadcast live on Sunday, February 11, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on CBS and Nickelodeon, as well as on streaming on Paramount+ (CBS and CBS News are owned by Paramount Global.) Here’s how to watch the Super Bowl.
How much did Super Bowl commercials cost in past years?
The cost of a Super Bowl ad has jumped in recent years, rising from $4.5 million in 2019 to $7 million today.
What is the most expensive Super Bowl ad ever aired?
The most expensive Super Bowl commercials aired in 2020, according to GoBankingRates, which estimated that two 90-second ads that year from Amazon and Google are vying for the priciest ads in the championship.
The Amazon ad featured Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi in a spot for its Alexa voice assistant, while the Google ad was about an elderly man using the search company’s voice assistant to help him remember his wife.
Both ads cost about $16.8 million, according to GoBankingRates.
Why are Super Bowl ads so expensive?
Super Bowl ads command a premium because the game is typically the most-watched media event of the year. That gives brands a chance to reach more consumers at one time than anywhere else, and many companies use the opportunity to trot out new products or introduce a new slogan.
There’s another reason why brands are so willing to pay up: About 3 in 4 people say they are actually excited to watch the ads during the Super Bowl. Families and friends typically watch the game together, and often talk about the spots as well as the game itself — a discussion that can carry over at work the next day, experts say.
“This shared experience can amplify the emotional resonance of advertisements, making them more memorable and effective. When viewers watch the Super Bowl, they are not just passive recipients of content — they are engaged in a communal event,” said Jura Liaukonyte, a professor of marketing in Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, in an email.
With a massive audience of viewers who are glued to the Super Bowl commercials, brands are willing to pay up to secure a sliver of airtime.
- Super Bowl
Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.
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