When it comes to branding and advertising, VBA loves SuperBowl Sunday. It’s that one time of year when the ad industry and advertisers are in the spotlight, sometimes more than the game itself. SuperBowl Sunday is projecting a record number of viewers, more than 179 million people, according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association and their January 24, 2013 survey report. With this record number of viewers and record-level commercial air-time costs (not including the agency production costs), is SuperBowl advertising really worth it?
Every year there is a rotation of advertisers – some new, some consistent, some saying no. Knowledge@Wharton has a classic 2005 archived article entitled, “What is the ROI for Super Bowl Ads?” While the statistics are dated, the rationale for why to advertise is still very relevant. According to the article, one immediate reason is the huge audience. If an advertiser is looking to make a big impact with a lot of people, this is the way to do it. If the advertiser has a product or service that is targeting a small, specific segment or is limited in availability, a mass audience may not be the way to go. This is because of the greater likelihood for wasted media impressions and a disappointing brand experience, if the viewer can’t get what is being sold.
The main reason for advertising is not necessarily in the commercial itself, but the publicity that surrounds the advertisements. When broadcast news, print and online news entities run your commercial for free, the increased interest in a product and service can mean increased website traffic, social media engagement, brand lift, product consideration and sales. According to comScore Media’s March 2012 report on the top 50 Web properties, post-SuperBowl, Auto Manufacturers received the most online gains, with 27 million people visiting automotive websites. The publicity is hard to measure, yet priceless in terms of brand awareness.
The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association states in their January 24 article, “For advertisers, commercials are more than entertainment, they are a way to increase awareness of a brand or service, and they’ve got an unusually captive audience.” Their survey revealed that 19.5 percent of respondents found commercials make them aware of an advertisers’ brand and another 10.5 percent say the commercials influence them to buy products. This was the highest percentage reported in RAMA’s survey history.
ROI can be measured, although it’s difficult to assign values to specific metrics and it’s different for each advertiser. When Monday rolls around and the ad meters are listing their favorite spots, advertisers and their agencies will reconvene to determine the overall worth and value. We’re guessing that if the commercial is noted as a “Best,” executives may be celebrating with their favorite beverage, perhaps Bud Light.
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