Super Bowl advertising in the United States - statistics & facts
The Super Bowl is routinely the most watched television event in the United States. The “big game” pulls in more than 100 million viewers through TV or online streaming and gives brands the perfect opportunity to reach millions of consumers in one fell swoop, generate brand awareness, and cement their impact through the decades. The Super Bowl has perennially seen advertisers going all in with their spending and ramping up star power by casting an ever-rotating bevy of acting titans, musical legends, and sports heavyweights. The result: 30-second-long ads that boast the production gloss (and often the same directors) of your favorite Hollywood blockbuster. The efforts have translated into a yearly multi-million-dollar advertising revenue harvest for the National Football League. For example, ad revenue for the 2022 Super Bowl reached a new high of 578.4 million U.S. dollars. Growing ad revenues have in turn made the average cost of a 30-second ad-spot skyrocket over the last two decades – leading to a record 7-million-dollar price tag during Super Bowl 2023, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38 to 35 in Glendale, Arizona.
Winning advertisers and leading trends
Budweiser has etched itself into U.S. consciousness as the quintessential Super Bowl advertiser, with three out of 10 Americans mentioning its ads as their all-time favorite big game spots. It comes as no surprise, then, that the beer giant stood as the largest advertiser in the history of the competition, dishing out almost half a billion dollars in commercials – which often included its mascots, the Clydesdales - since the very first Super Bowl in 1967. To give an idea of the amount of money involved, it is worth mentioning that Budweiser spent 26.5 million dollars in advertising during the 2022 Super Bowl alone. With 26 in-game ads over the 2010s – more than any other brand – Budweiser’s sister brand Bud Light deserved an A+ for attendance.
Budweiser’s omnipresence was also aided by the fact that between 1989 and 2023, its parent company Anheuser-Busch enjoyed exclusive rights as the sole alcohol advertiser of the game. The termination of the beverage giant’s exclusive ad sponsorship means that Super Bowl 2023 will mark the first time in more than 33 years in which more than one alcohol brand takes the field. Boozy brands running ads will include Heineken, Molson Coors, and Remy Martin.
When it came to ad spending, Amazon was the champion of Super Bowl 2022, with an expenditure of 32 million dollars, while the automotive sector spent the most on in-game advertising. Other Super Bowl big shots include soft drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, whose rivalry has also played out on the gridiron: with the former acting as the NFL’s soft drink sponsor between 1983 and 2002, before the latter took over that year. PepsiCo also sponsored the Super Bowl halftime show from 2012 to 2022, when it passed the baton to Apple Music. In February 2023, both PepsiCo and Anhauser-Busch struck high-profile deals with Twitter, in which they committed to run takeover ads on the platform during the big game. Both deals are part of the social media giant’s sales team reorganization to focus on becoming a key player in Super Bowl advertising. To that aim, the platform has also announced a “fire sale” offering significant discounts on ads during the Super Bowl weekend.
Nissan’s “Thrill Driver” garnered the most global online views in the week of Super Bowl 2022, with 46.57 million viewers watching actor Eugene Levy’s transformation from mellow gentleman to brazen action hero, with the help of a certain engine. When it came to brand popularity among viewers, M&Ms and a cohort of its snack peers, including Doritos, Pringles, and Planters had Super Bowl 2022 in a chokehold. A cryptocurrency ad takeover was one of the main facets of Super Bowl 2022 - with currencies such as Coinbase, Crypto.com and FTX running ads there for the first time, causing the game to be dubbed “Crypto Bowl.” Coinbase’s ad also nabbed the highest online engagement following the match. After a year of crypto price crashes and a swell of industry bankruptcies, with layoffs substituting expansion as the new normal, 2023’s event will see not one crypto ad.
Over the last decade, the Super Bowl and the NFL have also been at the center of discussions and controversies around social justice. The examples range from Beyoncé’s nod to Black Lives Matter during her 2016 halftime performance to Jennifer Lopez’s jab at former president Donald Trump’s immigration policies in 2020 – without forgetting the “take the knee” protests by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In 2019, rapper and businessperson Jay Z entered a multi-year partnership with the NFL to support social justice efforts. The issue resonated with Super Bowl viewers, with more than six out of 10 deeming it appropriate for brands to promote social justice in their ads.
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