super bowl advertising

Let’s get real. You likely will not be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday solely for the premier display of athleticism. Apart from the halftime entertainment (Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz), you want to see the commercials; in fact, several studies have found that 50% of the Super Bowl audience watches for the advertisements.

These ads, notorious for being memorable and buzzworthy, carry with them a heavy price sticker: $4.5 million to be exact, up by about $400,000 from 2014. But are they worth the price, especially since this allots for only a 30-second time slot (not a ton of time to secure market share)?

The answer? It depends. The big game brings with it a significant amount of PR value, but it’s only worth the high media cost “if you tackle it the right way, orchestrate a comprehensive game plan, and deliver relevant and attention-worthy creative,” according to a 2014 Forbes article.

That same article details how “the Super Bowl is not for everybody or every brand. If you have a serious message you need to convey, you might think twice about delivering it in front of an audience that is wired to party… The Super Bowl also isn’t a good place if you don’t like public scrutiny. The game brings with it every type of rating poll, measuring system, and press review imaginable. Come Monday morning, your brand’s commercial performance will be ranked against all competitors and talked about via TV, newspapers and social media across the world.”

The takeaway? Airing a commercial during the Super Bowl can be a valuable source of advertising for your audience, especially given the amount of viewers (according to the 2014 Nielsen ratings, “the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII on FOX had an average audience of 111.5 million viewers, which surpassed the previous year’s Super Bowl, and became the most watched television program of all time”) coupled with the exposure outside of the game.

Though most companies will likely never be able to secure a spot (the competition and price alone are major roadblocks), one thing can be certain: you can bet on seeing the Budweiser Clydesdales and Doritos ads in Super Bowl XLIX this Sunday. And at the end of the day, if companies do it right, you can bet that their having paid big bucks to let their commercials parade across television screens across the country will have been worth every million.