Image of football helmet covered in logos on grass field

Superbowl Advertising: Which Brands Will Emerge as Champions?

By Terry Cole, Chief Content Officer

Big names, big money, big audience, high stakes – these are all true about Superbowl LVIII set to take place in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11 when the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers. They also are true about the Superbowl commercials, which for some, are even more interesting and important than the game itself.  Isn’t it ironic that for 364 days of the year, consumers generally prefer to skip the commercials and pay extra for streaming services to avoid having to sit through them, yet, on Superbowl Sunday, it’s the commercials that have many glued to their screens?

As a football fan, I look forward to watching the game on Sunday (although I’d look forward to it even more if my team were participating). As a marketer, I also look forward to seeing this year’s Superbowl commercials. Which ads will be exceptionally creative? Laugh-out-loud funny? Thought-provoking? Shocking? Will any of this year’s ads emerge as game changers for a brand?

For established brands seeking added visibility and top-of-mind awareness, or up and coming brands who want to build awareness and interest in their product or service among a large, diverse audience, a Superbowl commercial may be an effective strategy. From an advertiser’s perspective, the Superbowl presents a once-a-year opportunity to reach a large, captive audience. This year’s ads can be expected to touch more than 100 million viewers on game day. In addition, they will reach an expanded digital audience who will view the commercials online and share opinions about them on social media. Plus, many ads will enjoy plenty of pre-game “buzz,” fueled by teaser ads to whet our appetite. Several brands have released commercials for their commercials (!!) to help ensure viewers tune in to see the full versions on Sunday. 

Some familiar brands such as Budweiser, Doritos, Pringle’s and e*Trade are repeat advertisers on the Superbowl stage. Other lesser-known brands will make the investment for the first time this year. Who knows, one of these brands may make a big impact like streaming service Tubi did last year with its “fake-out” ad that caused millions of Americans to scramble for the remote thinking someone had changed the channel. There’s no doubt that the potential reach and opportunity that comes from a Superbowl commercial is extraordinary.

The audience is big, but so is the price tag. This year’s advertisers are paying about $7 million for 30 seconds on air (on top of the hefty cost of ad production). The combination of the large opportunity and the steep price tag means the stakes are high for brands who advertise during the Superbowl. Advertisers can be expected to pull out all the stops to stand out from a crowded field and create a lasting impression, employing big-name celebrities, inspirational stories, dramatic special effects and more.

So, in the post-game analysis, which ads – and, most importantly, which advertisers – will viewers remember? Which ones will actually drive more business, increased revenue and enhanced brand affinity for the advertiser?

We know that one team – either Kansas City or San Francisco – will be crowned the champions of Superbowl LVIII. We don’t know yet which brands will be the champions off the field, and we look forward to finding out. I’ll be ready for that Monday morning conversation. Will you?

MKP communications inc. is a New-York based marketing communications agency specializing in merger/change communications for the financial services industry.