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Why Are Super Bowl Commercials So Popular? — football stadium
Why Are Super Bowl Commercials So Popular? — football stadium
Alex Mcomie 107x107
Apr 16, 2024

Why Are Super Bowl Commercials So Popular?

The Super Bowl is the culmination of the NFL season, and it’s the most popular TV event in the United States every year.

Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024, which featured the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers, was the highest-rated TV event since the moon landing.

Aside from the moon landing, the rest of the top ten most-viewed broadcasts have all been Super Bowls.

While football fans tune in for the game itself, many Americans are more interested in the commercials shown during halftime and time-outs.

Considering our typical attitude toward commercials, it’s surprising that Super Bowl commercials continue to generate so much interest among American consumers.

This unique trend also makes the Super Bowl a major event for brands.

Not only is it the largest TV audience of the year, but many viewers are watching specifically for the commercials.

Marketers respond with their most creative and extravagant ads of the year.

Some of the most memorable commercial voice overs have come on Super Bowl Sunday.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of Super Bowl commercials and how they became so popular.


When Did the Super Bowl Start?

The Super Bowl was created as a championship game for the winners of the NFL (National Football League) and AFL (American Football League).

Both leagues had been competing separately for a few years, with some top players in each one.

The NFL and AFL merged in 1970, so the Super Bowl was no longer a competition between teams from different leagues.

Instead, the NFL expanded to include the NFC (National Football Conference) and AFC (American Football Conference).

The Super Bowl still features the champion of each conference.

In 2022, for example, it was held between the Los Angeles Rams from the NFC and the Cincinnati Bengals from the AFC.


Was the Super Bowl Always This Popular?

Football is the most popular sport in the United States by a wide margin, so its championship game is naturally the biggest sporting event of the year.

However, the Super Bowl was much less of a marquee event in the 1960s than it is today.

The first Super Bowl, between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, had an average ticket price of just $12.

The next few were seen by about 40 to 50 million people — not even half of the 100+ million that have tuned in for recent games.

Ratings went up dramatically in the 1970s, particularly after the AFL/NFL merger.

The big game finally reached 100 million viewers for the first time in 2010.

The Super Bowl was able to cement its iconic status as home TVs became standard in American culture.

Unsurprisingly, higher ratings also started to make Super Bowl ad spots much more expensive.

The first Super Bowl had ad time available for less than $40,000, while a 30-second slot cost about $6.5 million during the 2022 game.

One 1967 dollar is equivalent to roughly $8.49 in 2022, so some of that difference could be chalked up to inflation.

Still, there’s a substantial difference even after accounting for the difference in purchasing power.


How Do Brands Approach Super Bowl Advertising?

One unique aspect of the Super Bowl is that it connects brands to an incredibly broad audience.

While most shows and events cater to specific demographics, the Super Bowl transcends conventional cultural boundaries.

Even better, the Super Bowl is one of the only events in which many viewers are happy to watch ads instead of skipping or ignoring them.

With the whole country watching, businesses develop commercials that have the potential to go viral and get people talking about their brand.

This leads to a different approach compared to normal marketing campaigns.

Unsurprisingly, Super Bowl ads tend to be much more creative, unique, or simply bizarre than commercials that run during other TV shows.


1. Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrities are one of the most effective ways for brands to get people talking about them.

Since companies are already paying so much for the ad slot itself, they’re often willing to spend more on celebrity endorsements than they would for an ordinary TV commercial.

This 2021 Super Bowl ad from BIC Lighters included a major endorsement from Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart.

Rather than simply using a random celebrity, BIC Lighters worked with people who made perfect sense for their brand.

On top of the tens of millions who saw the ad during the big game, it has been viewed roughly 3 million times on YouTube.

The comment section is full of people talking about how funny the ad is — in fact, the top comment said “this is the first time I actively searched for an ad to watch.”

That’s the kind of reaction brands want to generate with Super Bowl ads.

Even if you don’t have the budget for a celebrity endorsement, you can still find a great voice actor for commercials on our website.


2. Multi-Commercial Sequences

Since most viewers tune in for the entire game, some brands have experimented with multi-commercial sequences.

These sequences would be extremely difficult to pull off during any other TV show, but they work perfectly during the Super Bowl.

Tide took this idea further than ever with the “It’s a Tide ad” series from the 2018 Super Bowl.

Throughout the game, commercials would appear to advertise a wide range of common products including beer, cars, and jewelry.

At the end of each one, it was revealed that the whole ad was for Tide due to the stain-free appearance of the actors.

This ad was so unique that it became one of the hit commercials of that year’s game.

Conventional TV ads will struggle to generate enthusiasm with the intense creative competition that comes during every Super Bowl.


3. Pre-Planned Commercials

It would be strange to announce a commercial in advance on any other day.

On Super Bowl Sunday, however, brands often let viewers know what to expect in advance.

Amazon, for example, announced an upcoming Lord of the Rings commercial before that year’s game.

On the big day, fans of the series tuned in to see the big reveal.

Early announcements don’t always make sense, but they’re good for shows and movies that are expected to generate lots of audience interest.

When fans know that a trailer is coming, they’ll generate buzz on their own and build anticipation for the eventual release.


Final Thoughts

The Super Bowl is about football, but most people are at least as interested in the commercials as they are in the game itself.

Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day for TV advertisers just as it’s the biggest day for football players and fans.

If you want to get in touch with the largest possible TV audience, the Super Bowl is your best opportunity.

At the same time, Super Bowl ads cost millions of dollars per 30-second spot and are too expensive for all but the largest companies.

These are just a few examples of the best Super Bowl commercials we’ve seen in recent years.

Make sure to check out our voice actors for promos if you’re working on a commercial of your own.


Did you like this article? Do you have any other favorite Super Bowl ads? Let us know in the comments.

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