Feb 27, 2021 - 08:14 PM
[pic of the Lemons rained down, which Budweiser used to advertise its new Seltzer product, and which it said drove buzz and sales]
In less than four hours, 65 commercials costing an average of $5.6 million per 30-second spot aired in front of 91.5 million Super Bowl LV viewers, according to the market-research firm Kantar Group. The total spend during the 2021 game was an estimated $485 million.
So, how did the ads do?
“An uncomfortable aspect in marketing is that calculating the true return on investment is always elusive,” said Derek Rucker, a marketing professor at Northwestern University who with his colleague Tim Calkins has run the Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review for 17 years.
But, Dr. Rucker said, there’s evidence that Super Bowl ads do generate business.
After a commercial for the startup Death Wish Coffee aired during the National Football League’s title game in 2016, sales boomed, leading the company to move into a space that was nearly triple the size of its existing facility to keep up with demand.
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher’s spot on Cheetos was also a winner. But there have been duds, such as this one from 1999:
Among the foulest was a 1999 Super Bowl commercial for Just for Feet, in which white people in a Humvee chased down a barefoot Kenyan runner, drugged him and put sneakers on his feet. Afterward, the shoe company sued its ad agency, alleging, among other things, that its reputation had been damaged
In short, the Super Bowl is no different from other advertising mediums. There are winners and losers but there is no testing on a shoestring budget first. You make a massive bet and only then find out if it was worth it. As the Wall Street Bets Reddit crowd would say “YOLO” (you only live once)