Can anyone justify spending $5 million for a 30-second commercial — even for TV’s biggest audience? That’s a trick question. They don’t have to justify the expenditure: For whatever reason, that’s the record amount that CBS chief Les Moonves says his network has been commanding for spots during the Super Bowl on February 7.
And Hollywood will again be in the mix next to the various beer, soda, auto, snack food, game and electronics companies angling for a moment of the nation’s attention.
Three studios bought time in the 2015 Super Bowl — making Hollywood the second-biggest category after auto makers, in a tie with food and candy. Some decisions are made right up to game time.
“As you get closer and closer to the game, there’s going to be some advertiser that has to be in the Super Bowl,” Moonves told an investor gathering last month. “Two weeks before, there’s going to be some movie producer who thinks he’s got a bad movie, but convinces the studio they have to spend more money for it and they are going to beg us for two spots that go for [north of $5 million] a spot. So that invariably happens.”
This time, we hear that 20th Century Fox will be in — likely with a spot for Independence Day: Resurgence. The 1996 ad for Independence Day helped to make the game a big deal for movie promos with its memorable image of the White House being blown up and the tag line: “Enjoy the Super Bowl. It may be your last.”
Universal will suit up, following its record box office year. Bourne series author Eric Van Lustbader said on Facebook today that there’ll be a spot that will unveil the official name for the fifth film in the franchise, with Matt Damon. The studio has advertised Warcraft during the NFL championship games, and could also opt to promote animated film The Secret Life Of Pets.
Disney’s said to be buying, although it isn’t clear whether it will be for Steven Spielberg’s family film The BFG, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, or Pixar’s Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory.
And Paramount’s a possibility, with its eagerness to promote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows.
Warner Bros. and Sony apparently have passed on the game this year.
Other companies also will take advantage of Hollywood’s star power. Celebs featured in Super Bowl ads include Christopher Walken (Kia), Key & Peele (Squarespace), Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen (Bud Light), and animated characters from DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 (Wix.com) which kicked off its box office run today.
What do buyers get for their money? Some 114.4 million people were said to have watched last year’s Super Bowl on NBC. The actual number is probably much bigger when you consider how many people watch at parties.
The return on investment story has additional wrinkles when you include the attention marketers receive in countless who-had-the-best-ad stories, and online.
Google says that people watched more than 300,000 hours of Super Bowl ads on YouTube while the game was on. The company adds that companies that put their spots on the streaming platform ahead of the Super Bowl attract twice the number of views than others who wait for game day.
Facebook and Twitter also are vying with each other to generate buzz around the Super Bowl and its ads.
As for CBS, there’s little doubt that it will be able to boast about the cash that will flood into its coffers. Last year NBC sold $345.4 million worth of ads, at an average of $4.4 million per spot, Kantar Media says. NBCUniversal reported that it saw $376 million in revenues from the game.
After accounting for all the expenses, NBC said that the Super Bowl was “profitable.”