Advertisers want only one thing from the Super Bowl: For the game to be super-close, and super exciting, so that viewers will remain glued to their TV sets until the very end.
After all, they've got up to $4 million each riding on the game. That's the top price of a 30-second ad this year.
By half time, the consensus was that the game wasn't a very good one, with the Baltimore Ravens steamrolling the San Francisco 49ers. Then the Ravens scored another touchdown immediately after half time, making the score 28 - 6 with the extra point. It was great for Ravens fans, but the rest of the country likely started to get distracted.
It would be all over for advertisers. People would tune and start checking out the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.
And then ...
The lights went out in the stadium!
The Ravens lost their momentum!
And the 49ers pulled the score back to 28-23.
Suddenly, it was one of the most dramatic, weird, thrilling Super Bowls ever.
Just the sort of thing that advertisers love.
Advertisers who buy spots in the first two quarters of the game often pay extra to ensure that people are still watching while the game is still new and exciting. That's one reason why big brands like Coke and Bud Light are among the first ads you see.
Spots in the third and fourth quarters are often booked by more marginal brands that are taking the risk that the game will be a nail-biter — and thus they'll get the big audience numbers at a discount.
Which is why every advertiser in the back half of the game is suddenly rooting for San Francisco.
This post was originally published at 8.19 pm and was updated at 9.55 pm.
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