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Super Bowl Commercials 2015: Examining Ad Costs Compared to 2014

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJanuary 29, 2015

This image provided by Mars Inc. shows an online teaser ad for M&M's Super Bowl ad featuring its yellow peanut M&M “spokescandy”. The teaser is part of a Super Bowl ad trend: More content is being released ahead of time online in the hope that it goes viral. Advertisers are seeking to drum up excitement for their spots running during the big game, when more than 108 million people are expected to watching Feb. 2. (AP Photo/Mars Inc.)
Uncredited/Associated Press

The Super Bowl is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events each year. Attracting over 110 million viewers, the game practically brings the nation to a halt—possibly one of the reasons why many think the day of (or after) the NFL championship should be declared a national holiday.

With so much hype surrounding the Super Bowl, its television network is able to get a little greedy with its advertising costs. After all, what company wouldn't want its ad campaign to be part of the year's most-watched broadcast?

According to SuperBowl-Ads.com, when the Seattle Seahawks took on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, Fox made out like bandits, collecting an average of $4 million for a 30-second spot. As it turned out, that was money well spent, as over 112 million viewers tuned in.

Not to be outdone, NBC has further jacked up ad prices for Seattle's return to the big dance, this time against the New England Patriots. According to Lara O'Reilly of Business Insider, those same 30-second spots cost advertisers between $4.4 and $4.5 million this year—an increase of at least $400,000 from 2014.

Sure, that kind of inflation may seem like a bit of a rip-off, but it didn't stop advertisers from reaching into their pockets, as O'Reilly pointed out the Super Bowl's ad slots are officially sold out, even though it took a bit longer to do so compared to years past.

Doritos Crash the Super Bowl will once again be featured in 2015.
Doritos Crash the Super Bowl will once again be featured in 2015.Colin Young-Wolff/Associated Press
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Here's what Seth Winter, executive vice president for ad sales of NBC Universal, had to say about selling out during a conference call, via Lisa Richwine of Reuters, courtesy of Yahoo News, "The game is officially sold out. It just proves to me once again that the NFL and the Super Bowl remains the platinum standard of all media."

Not only is NBC making a killing on the television broadcast ad sales, but according to Winter, the network has tallied "eight figures" for ads on the live stream of the game.

So, what companies comprise this year's slate of memorable Super Bowl commercials? The bulk of the lineup can be found on AdAge.com. Some of the commercials have already been released online, and this year's advertising appears to have plenty of promise.

T-Mobile is running an ad campaign regarding a new feature that allows customers to keep their unused data for up to a year. How did the communications company decide to get the word out? Well, it hired Kim Kardashian to poke fun at herself during this 30-second spot:

Anheuser-Busch is one of the bigger spenders this year. According to Ad Age, the company has purchased seven 30-second ad spots, totaling 210 seconds of air time and roughly $30.8 million if each spot was bought at a $4.4 million rate. That's a hefty chunk of change; however, this Bud Light commercial featuring a real-life game of Pac-Man will certainly get the public talking:

Those two commercials are just a taste of what's to come.

Every year, we see compelling, informative and hilarious ads that live on in our memories (and on the Web) for quite some time. Unfortunately, many commercials also fall short of capturing our attention, fading quickly into oblivion. So, while you watch the Super Bowl's commercials this year, remember the cost for a 30-second add and decide which companies nailed it and which made a $4.5 million mistake.

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