Do you ever remember getting a certain song stuck in your head? How about a commercial? Do you also remember seeing this commercial broadcast during a particular football game on the first Sunday of February? There’s a large chance that the earworm you’re experiencing is the cause of a Super Bowl commercial. Since the 1980s, Super Bowl commercials have been an essential part of the big game and have now, perhaps, become more watched than the game itself.
The first Super Bowl ads from 1967–1972 weren’t competitive on a large scale and didn’t really grab the audience in a stunning fashion. The $42,000 slots were filled with commercials that we’d see on a local news station or perhaps a smaller, regular-season game broadcast. However, in 1984, a year known for George Orwell’s dystopian classic, Steve Jobs and Apple released a Super Bowl ad that brought a new kind of attention to the big game commercials. The upcoming release of Apple’s Macintosh was something revolutionary that Jobs wanted to make known to the world. Marketers for Apple said that the best way to do this was to broadcast the ad during the Super Bowl.
The up-in-coming tech giant’s ad inspired other companies to up their advertising campaigns and put more money into making more appealing, convincing, and enticing ads. Not only did these increased efforts help target more consumers, but they also won companies bragging rights. If your company’s commercial was talked about the next day or the next year, you made a great ad. Despite declining Super Bowl ratings, advertising experts say that the Super Bowl simply cannot be ignored. This is largely due to its new reputation as an advertising event, where companies get to showcase their comedy, wittiness, cleverness, and timeliness to viewers on the one night of the year when they actually want to watch commercials.
Different companies take different approaches with the aims for their Super Bowl ads. Some are extravagant. A 30-second ad slot can cost up to $5.5 million today. Some are extremely impactful. Movie trailers that were broadcast during Super Bowl Sunday Night Football made twice as much on opening weekend as the ad itself cost. Some are nonexistent. This year, staple commercial companies such as Budweiser, Coke, and Pepsi are choosing not to advertise during the Super Bowl. Most of the hesitance comes from compensating losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Movie theater-based Coca-Cola explained that they wouldn’t be spending money on the ad because of the huge hit to the cinema industry. Other companies are donating the money usually spent on Super Bowl advertising, to COVID–19 relief efforts.
Similar to past years, companies released teasers of their 2021 Super Bowl ads to raise excitement for the full commercial during the big game. Pre-released commercials spark interest and attention over social media days before they even are broadcasted on TV Super Bowl Sunday night. The attention these commercials get before the game adds to the already predicted views during the Super Bowl broadcast. Super Bowl commercials look to bring in as many viewers and as much profit as possible, and the business of Super Bowl advertising is only growing.