The Outrageous Cost of a 30 Second Super Bowl Ad and Why It Works

Screenshot: Hyundai (YouTube); Google (YouTube); Jeep (YouTube)

Superbowl LIV has come and gone, Kansas City Chiefs take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but there’s something else that piqued WMDM’s interest. It wasn’t Donald Trump mistweeting Kansas City being in the state of Kansas (FYI, it’s in Missouri), nor was it Damien Williams’ 38-yard touchdown to seal the 49ers’ fate (although it was epic). Instead, it was the creative, hilarious, and sometimes over-the-top 30 to 60-second commercials that play every year.

You see, companies and brands spend several months brainstorming, planning, and executing on the intended message well before the big day. 30 seconds isn’t much to play with, so every moment counts, but despite its short length, Super Bowl ads aren’t cheap. In fact, it costs a company $5.6 million USD for one of these 30-second spots—that’s a whopping cost of $186,666 USD for every second it’s on air. This doesn’t even take into the consideration the cost to produce the ad, like paying for staff or on-screen celebrities.

Now, you might be wondering, “why in the world would companies purchase one of these spots?” It may seem like a large waste of finite resource that could be better spent elsewhere. Yet time and time again, large companies scramble to secure their 30-seconds of spotlight. Why is this? Let’s take a deeper dive into why these positions are so highly sought after.

The Super Bowl is the most watched television broadcast in the United States

A lot of eyeballs watch the Super Bowl—even outside of the US and overseas. With 80,000 stadium spectators, 111 million TV viewers, and 44 million social media interactions, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in the United States. All of these statistics are for a single day.

The Super Bowl even caters to those less inclined to football — from high production value halftime shows with headline performers, to contests and giveaways throughout the night. No wonder why the Super Bowl is the most watched television broadcast in the US.

The cost per engagement is substantially low

As much as these numbers may be staggering in and of itself, without taking into account word-of-mouth advertising generated or online stream viewership, a Super Bowl position would cost a mere 3.89 cents USD per engagement. No other platform offers the same level of brand recognition and return than the Super Bowl, making it one of the most valuable advertising spots in the world.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder why it costs so much to secure your 30 seconds on the Super Bowl. Here at WMDM, we take inspiration in the amount of time and effort stuffed into each moment. Here are some of our favourite commercials from Super Bowl LIV:

Smaht Pahk – Hyundai

Groundhog’s Day – Jeep

Loretta – Google

What are some of your favourite commercials from throughout Super Bowl history? Let us know!