Super Bowl Commercials 2019: Latest Ad Costs for Casual-Fan Entertainment

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2019

Michael, Buchwald, NFL Senior Counsel, Legal, holds up Super Bowl 53 tickets as he explains the security features on the tickets during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

If the Super Bowl commercial extravaganza seems like an expensive endeavor for advertisers, well, it is. 

Advertisers of all shapes and sizes do their best to gain some mindshare with big-game viewers annually, though this is the first year it sounds like the prices to actually get into this competitive venture have actually evened out. 

According to Tanya Dua of Business Insider, a 30-second spot will run in the neighborhood of $5 million, which is the same price range that advertisers had to dole out a year ago after years of upward climb. 

For perspective, the ad spaces during the very first Super Bowl in 1967 cost a minimum of $37,500, but no more than $42,500, according to Tom Huddleston Jr. of CNBC.

Keep in mind the difference now, of course, is the Super Bowl draws north of 100 million viewers each time out. This year shouldn't be any different given the heavyweights involved in Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. 

Also important to remember is the price will fluctuate based on where during the game an advertiser buys a slot. But that $5 million estimate is buying much more than 30 seconds in today's social media age. Shares on various platforms and millions of views on memorable videos mean sustained brand awareness for companies that do well with their investment. It isn't hyperbolic to say in this day and age that the money invested in a Super Bowl ad likely gets more exposure for a brand than almost anything else can. 

Meaning, it shouldn't be a surprise to hear some heavyweights are going all-out again this year. According to CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Anheuser-Busch is setting a Super Bowl record this year with six-and-a-half minutes of airtime purchases. 

One of those efforts is already available: 

Auto manufacturers are also a major player for these events, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Mercedes-Benz popping up with an Atlanta-based talent like Ludacris for an ad during a game taking place in Mercedes-Benz Stadium: 

Pepsi is following a similar slant with Steve Carell, Lil Jon and Cardi B:

But lesser-known companies see the steep price investment as worthwhile, too. Expensify, for example, is gambling on the pricey slot bringing more attention to the brand: 

Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to trying to stand out among the crowd here, even after the pricy buy-in. Some of those commercials above are the full-blown releases that will air on game day. Other companies have opted to release small teaser trailers for their upcoming ads, like Hollywood would do a trailer for a movie. In 2017, marketing for a 30-second spot cost one company another $1 million atop the $5 million starter price. 

None of these are bad strategies. Releasing the ad outright well before the Super Bowl isn't as bad as it sounds—and this Doritos preview for the ad already has more than two million views:

Other notable companies aren't even trying to compete in a traditional sense. Kia will run a spot promoting the formation of a scholarship fund. Skittles will instead run a Broadway play, to name a few examples. 

There isn't a wrong way for advertisers to go about promoting an ad once they decide to invest in a spot itself. A quality ad and some marketing buzz, though steep in cost, can create an organic marketing campaign well after the Super Bowl in which social media does much of the heavy lifting from there. 

Based on all of the above, it is safe to presume most advertisements Sunday will play it safe from a content perspective while aiming for a humorous tone. If it strikes the right chord with audiences, the initial asking price makes plenty of sense.

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