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Super Bowl 2022: Soaring COVID-era ad spots a 'sign of the times' for brands

·Senior Reporter
·4 min read
In this article:
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Super Bowl LVI ads are sold out of every in-game unit across NBC (CMCSA), Telemundo and all digital platforms — including its fledgling streaming platform Peacock, with some 30-second spots selling for a record $7 million.

Like everything nowadays, it'll cost more for brands to advertise at the big game. Variety reported that the average Super Bowl LVI ad sold for about $6 million for a 30-second spot — up from last year's $5.5 million.

But is the ultra high price-tag worth it?

"The short answer is yes," Kevin Krim, CEO and president of data analytics software company EDO told Yahoo Finance.

EDO's data over the past six games shows that a single 30-second Super Bowl ad can drive hundreds of thousands, and even millions of people, to search and engage with the brand online.

"But you got to make the right choices to make it worth your while," the executive cautioned. He explained the successful Super Bowl ads typically include three things: an introduction of a new product or service, solid execution on the creative (historically, funny ads perform better than heartwarming ones), and an authentic celebrity to drive home the brand messaging.

"The lowest performing ads inevitably are missing one or more of those criteria,” Krim added.

According to EDO, which measures real-time search engagement, the most successful Super Bowl ad last year came from glucose monitoring company Dexcom, starring Nick Jonas.

The ad was 11 times more effective at driving brand search than the median Super Bowl LV ad.

Krim explained that the ad hit all of the boxes, primarily a relatively new product that consumers weren't aware of, with an authentic celebrity attached to it (Jonas has been incredibly vocal about his own diagnosis with type 1 diabetes.)

Other top performers included the auto and entertainment heavy-hitters. Jeep and Cadillac captured two of the top five airings of the game, whereas ads for movies, streaming services, and series made up five of the top 20 airings.

In total, advertisers in Super Bowl LV spent an estimated $482M on in-game Super Bowl ads, according to EDO.

A cyclist passes a Super Bowl LVI Pepsi advertisement on February 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Super Bowl LVI will be played on February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, where the hometown Los Angeles Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals.
A cyclist passes a Super Bowl LVI Pepsi advertisement on February 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Super Bowl LVI will be played on February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, where the hometown Los Angeles Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals.

This year, Krim said viewers should expect to see more entertainment and streaming-driven ads — especially when it NBC's Peacock.

"Last year [when the Super Bowl aired on CBS], almost $35 million of ad space was dedicated to ViacomCBS launching Paramount+," Krim added.

Other Super Bowl newcomers include big pharma, with brands like Pfizer (PFE), Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) and Moderna (MRNA) leaning on newfound brand identities following the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

"It's a real sign of the times...these companies are starting to realize that they can spend brand money on being present at these big events and change their relationship with consumers," Krim continued.

According to NBC, the game will feature 30 new advertisers compared to last year's event, representing around 40% of total Super Bowl ads.

Super Bowl a 'really rational buy'

NFL viewership during the regular 2021 season was up 10% compared to 2020 — the highest-rated season average since 2015, according to Nielsen.

Consequently, experts believe this year's Super Bowl ratings will come in above the norm — leading to even greater exposure for brands who purchased ads during the big game.

EDO's Krim told Yahoo Finance that brands would have to buy over 100 30-second ad spots in regular primetime to get the same effect as the Super Bowl, as the average viewer is nearly 5 times as likely to search for a brand advertised during the game compared to everyday primetime TV.

"The Super Bowl is a really rational buy in terms of the total impact," Krim said. Performance data has been "incredibly stable" over the years — even when viewership is down, and with COVID-19.

"Things have changed, the types of advertisers have changed, the environment in which we're operating in as a society has changed, but the Super Bowl has been by far the most valuable place in terms of impact that you can place an ad," he continued.

"That's why you're seeing this consistently high 'price on' that's been rising," Krim added.

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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