According to Lauren Watters of American Marketing Association, a 30-second spot cost $5 million last year. Per Spotrac, Super Bowl LI hero James White netted approximately $1.8 million in 2017, slightly less than the average $1.9 million ad cost when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won their first Lombardi Trophy in 2002.
That record-setting price will carry over into Sunday's matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reported an average cost of around $5 million as of Jan. 14, when a few spots remained open.
That's a lot of money to air a video with some combination of a talking animal, celebrity spokesperson, car, junk food or beer. Philadelphia devoted slightly under $5 million of its 2017 payroll on Nick Foles, Jay Ajayi and Zach Ertz.
On one hand, it feels counteractive to invest millions in TV time when most commercials get posted online before the game. Yet as Kellogg School of Management professor Tim Calkin explained to Quartz's Ashley Rodriguez, the Super Bowl presents a highly rare instance where people are sharing the same viewing experience and paying attention during programming breaks.
"So much of media is fragmenting into smaller and smaller audiences," Calkins said. "If you want to reach a lot of people, really the only way you can do it is on the Super Bowl ... It has the lovely combination of a big audience and a group of people that want to listen to the advertising and that makes it so valuable."
When else do consumers actively seek out advertisements? Anyone especially eager to watch some Super Bowl spots can get a head start before Sunday night.
Super Bowl LII Commercials
Groupon ('Who Wouldn't')
Groupon enlisted Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish to show a guy in a suit get hit in an uncomfortable spot by a football.
It's succeeding. As of Saturday evening, the video has more than 10.5 million views on YouTube.
According to NBC Chicago's Mae Anderson, Groupon claims the commercial's villain received retribution above the belt. Advertising Age columnist Barbaba Lippert nevertheless was not impressed by the low-brow humor.
"The crotch hit is the lowest thing in the book," Lippert told Anderson. "I was hoping it was retired forever."
Other ads may have heart, but "Who Wouldn't" had a football in the groin. Give Groupon the $10,000.
Universal ('Peyton Manning: Vacationing Quarterback')
Peyton Manning will return to the Super Bowl. Sort of.
As Brady vies for his sixth championship, his retired rival will instead enjoy a vacation in a Universal Parks and Resorts spot.
While there's a glaring absence of him hitting someone with a football in the groin—this isn't Saturday Night Live's Manning—he instead quips with kids about Quidditch and recalls the wrong Megatron's career with the Detroit Lions.
Another case of "Simpsons did it" surfaces when a younger friend points out that giving any more than 100 percent is mathematically impossible.
Manning's advertising career will soon contain as many chapters as his NFL tenure. His dry delivery shines when not encumbered by a jingle.
'Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice'
Is there anything that screams "Super Bowl commercial" more than two famous actors utilizing a Jimmy Fallon bit to sell sugary soda and cheesy snacks?
Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage did the thing where celebrities pretend to sing songs. It's a strange use of their skills considering the former is famous for his soothing narration while the latter gained notoriety for his biting wit as Tyrion Lannister.
Here, Freeman and Dinklage just move their lips to Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" and Busta Rhymes' "Look at Me Now," respectively. The one-minute ad is a collaborative effort from Mountain Dew and Doritos, both PepsiCo Inc. products.
This is where someone with more business savvy would talk about synergy to commend the innovative approach.
With Doritos marketing a spicy Blaze chip and Mountain Dew peddling a lemon-line Dew Ice, it's a different song of ice and fire than the world Dinklage inhabits. Nobody would pay $10 million or more to air it, but hearing both men converse about anything would probably be more interesting than watching a hodgepodge of special effects.