Is advertising at the Super Bowl worth it? 

Here I make the case for advertising at the Super Bowl, despite the $7 million price tag for a 30 second slot.
Super Bowl

With Super Bowl season upon us, it raises the re-occurring question, is it worth the money for advertisers? 

Estimated at $7 million for a 30 second advertising slot, many would suggest the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. While there continues to be debate over whether the investment is worth it for advertisers, there are reasons to believe that it is. 

Let me make the case.

Cost per impression and scale of reach 

Let’s consider two concepts in the media-planning world: cost per impression (CPM) and scale of reach. 

CPM is how many eyeballs you can grab in the most cost-effective way.

Typically, advertisers need to use a wide range of media to get the 100 million impressions that they can get in one shot during the Super Bowl.

So, it takes considerably less effort to target the right audience during the Super Bowl, as opposed to a multitude of other channels (especially in a world of media fragmentation).

This is true of TV more generally, which is one of the most cost effective channels on an impression basis, as seen by Lumen Research.

The second element is customer reach. There is no doubt that the Super Bowl attracts a wide variety of viewers, many of whom only occasionally watch TV.

With this in mind, advertising during the Super Bowl gets you in front of notoriously hard-to-find audiences, allowing access to potentially untapped markets and consumer segments. 


Most viewers prefer to skip TV ads in the middle of a programme or a live event. The Super Bowl commercials, however, are an exception to the rule. 

Viewers look forward to the ads as much as, if not more, than the game itself. During half-time, it’s almost a semi-competition to see which advert generates the most buzz. Viewers in the US spend far more time watching these commercials than at any other time. 

We can see that TV more generally have amongst the highest viewability performance, which presumably increases significantly during the Super Bowl. 

This is beneficial to the advertiser for one reason: the more time viewers spend watching, the more likely they are to buy.

As we can see from Lumen research, the longer someone views an advert, the higher the chance of them remembering the brand.

In addition, the research shows a strong relationship between viewing and sales conversion.

The knock-on effect of the TV advert and earned media

One of the big draws of the Super Bowl is the buzz it generates. People don’t just watch the game — they talk, share, engage, and experience it. It’s the ultimate occasion to spend with family and friends, whether in-person or online.

Being part of the Super Bowl keeps you front and centre of the action, ensuring that your brand is talked about for days and weeks to come. 

Interestingly, advertisers are in on the act and actually encourage this during the build up to the Super Bowl.

For example, here is an advert of an advert (!) from Pepsi, dropping a hint that Ben Stiller and Steve Martin are both doing competing ads.

This really created a buzz all over social media and built up the anticipation. 

Another point in favour of advertising during the Super Bowl is gaining organic exposure across social media. It enables you to showcase your brand to new channels and ways to extend your reach, and lifetime on air. Many adverts from the Super Bowl have achieved significant PR and social media attention, with celebrities also getting in on the action. This helps your media spend become even more cost-effective. 

A good example of this, is the internet-breaking advert from Coinbase. They simply had their QR code bouncing around the screen for a minute.

It performed spectacularly well with sources suggesting that Coinbase added $1 billion in market capitalization with a mere $14 million spent on the campaign. The PR they achieved from this campaign was incredible.

Building fame

According to studies done by the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising), ‘fame’ is one of the most important aspects when developing and building a brand.

Having your brand associated with the Super Bowl lends credibility and earns longevity in the minds of your target market.

It’s a classic way to generate brand equity, and be part of a select consideration set, as determined by your audience. 

A good example of this has come from Hellman’s where using the Super Bowl they are able to reinforce their brand positioning as the saviour of the ‘left-overs’ in the fridge. 


So there you have it. There are just so many reasons to advertise during and in-and-around the Super Bowl. In a world of media fragmentation, this appears to be one of the key opportunities to actually get it front of a huge, diverse audience in one shot. Its for this reason and many other discussed, why its still a prime-time opportunity for advertisers who can afford it.  

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