Super Bowl Commercials 2017: Ad Costs Review, Value Before Patriots vs. Falcons

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 31:  A general view of NRG Stadium, site of Super Bowl LI on January 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Super Bowl has become television's biggest annual event, and this year's matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons is no different. 

According to Sports Media Watch, viewership of the Super Bowl has steadily increased from the 22.4 million viewers who tuned in for Super I between the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. While last year's ratings were down slightly from the previous year, each of the last seven Super Bowls have topped 100 million viewers. 

As viewership has increased, predictably, so has the cost of advertising during the event. 

According to Ad Age, advertisers paid an average of $1,333 per second to air a commercial during the first Super Bowl. This year, the average price per second has risen to over $160,000. 

Super Bowl LI is expected to set multiple records, including for total spending, which is expected to top $385 million. Based on Ad Age's data, that number surpasses total spending from the first 23 Super Bowls combined.

For a standard 30-second ad in Super Bowl XLI, companies will be spending an average of $5 million. 

And while that number alone is startling enough, some advertisers will actually be spending even more on pre-Super Bowl advertising, thus ruining some of the initial shock value of the ad. According to Forbes' Madeline Berg, Turbo Tax is among the biggest spenders on pre-Super Bowl advertising and has already invested $5.2 million on it's Humpty Dumpty ad

The decision to release commercials prior to the event may be surprising to some, but it could also be a valuable strategy. While Super Bowl audiences are significant, far more viewers can be reached online. Getting people to talk about a brand's commercial prior to the game could be a strategy to generate some early interest online, rather than risk getting trumped by a more viral-worthy spot on game day.

Here's a look at some of the other companies who will be spending big money during Sunday's game:



Coke has become one of the staples of the Super Bowl commercials, and it will return again this year. 

Typically, Coke doesn't get too creative or outlandish, often sticking with its standard formulas, such as the classic polar bears, which were featured in its 2013 campaign. But Coke may have something up its sleeve this year. 

According to E.J. Shultz of Ad Age, Coke is not participating in the new tradition of releasing spoilers prior to the big game. However, Shultz also indicated that the company could simply be planning to re-use old commercials. 



One of the most anticipated ads in the TV/movie category will come from Netflix, which is participating in the Super Bowl ad frenzy for the first time, according to Ad Age.

According to Entertainment Weekly, which shared a still from the commercial, the ad will be a trailer for Season 2 of the Netflix original, Stranger Things:

Entertainment Weekly @EW

Exclusive: Your first look at @Stranger_Things’ #SuperBowl teaser is here! https://t.co/T3cpu4Y0DF #StrangerThings #SB51 https://t.co/GP4Edhr1gR


As per Super Bowl tradition, Budweiser will be back with an advertisement, but it's going to generate more discussion than their typical feel-good campaigns starring the famous Clydesdales. 

According to Cindy Boren of the Washington Post, Budweiser's ad is a flashback to German immigrant Adolphus Busch meeting up with Eberhard Anheuser. Boren noted that, due to the current political debates surrounding the topic of immigration, calls to boycott Budweiser have already begun. 

The ad, which has already been released, is a 60-second spot, which will presumably cost Budweiser in the range of $10 million to air on game day. 

According to Ad Age, Budweiser's parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev holds exclusive rights to beer advertising during the Super Bowl, and will also run ads for Bud Light, Busch and Michelob Ultra.


Notable Brands Missing Out

According to Daniel Roberts of Yahoo Finance, there will be a few notable brands absent from the Super Bowl commercials this year.

Daniel Roberts @readDanwrite

This #SuperBowl will have no Doritos ad (first time in 10 years), no Pepsi ad (first time in 6 years): https://t.co/6ix1aJJkRa @YahooFinance

Both Pepsi and Doritos have been staples of the Super Bowl commercial scene for the past decade, often creating some of the more creative and silly ads to lighten the mood.

Without these two brands in the mix, and with other such as Budweiser opting to attack serious topics, the Super Bowl commercials as a whole could take on a different tone this year.