More than 113 million people tuned into Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, a staggering audience that is increasingly rare these days. “In this era of fragmentation, the Super Bowl is what television used to be,” said media analyst Brad Adgate. Of course, these viewers are a potential goldmine for advertisers, who must pay a small fortune for the chance to grab the public’s attention on this massive stage. The going rate for a 30-second spot on this year’s broadcast was $7 million, which could be a bargain for the brands that won over viewers on the big night.
Comedy and celebrities appeared to be a winning combination for the evening, with State Farm’s action-packed ad featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito taking the top spot in USA Today’s annual Ad Meter poll. A Dunkin’ ad starring Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon earned the second spot while Uber Eats and BMW also benefited from celebrity cameos. Viewers responded to several heartwarming ads as well, such as Kia’s “perfect ten” commercial and Dove’s short film about building confidence in girls’ sports. Meanwhile, Beyonce served as a spokesperson both for Verizon and herself as she announced new music at the end of her ad, leading to loads of online chatter that lasted well after the final whistle blew.
Not every celebrity spot succeeded, however, with ads from platforms like Hotels.com and Booking.com landing in the bottom half of the Ad Meter poll. A commercial for Cetaphil lotion generated a lot of negative social media discussion after an influencer claimed that the company stole the premise of the ad from her. While these firms found themselves on the losing side along with the San Francisco 49ers, the undisputed winner of the evening could be the NFL itself. After all, the Kansas City Chiefs may have lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy, but the league stands to collect more than $125 billion in broadcast rights over the next decade. That number could push even higher in the future if the NFL’s popularity continues to grow.
1. Why are many companies willing to pay millions of dollars to broadcast a commercial during the Super Bowl?
2. Do you think the price for Super Bowl ads will continue to grow in the long term? Why or why not?
Sources: Wyatte Grantham-Philips, “Super Bowl Ads Keep It Heavy on the Celebrities, Light on the Politics,” Associated Press, February 11, 2024; Andrew Ross Sorkin, “How Big Was the Big Game?” The New York Times, February 12, 2024.