Why Brands Spend $5 Million (or More) on a Super Bowl Ad to Support a Cause

The approach has become a new convention

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A beer brand touting its disaster relief efforts. A car brand supporting gender equality. A vacation rental company pushing for diversity. Recent years have seen a rise in the number of brands aligning themselves with causes, a trend that has found its way into advertising’s biggest night—the Super Bowl. Brands backed a cause in just 6 percent of Super Bowl ads a decade ago. Today it’s about a quarter of all spots, according to Charles Taylor, professor of marketing at the Villanova School of Business.

With the chance to reach massive audiences, companies like Airbnb, Audi and Budweiser have used the Super Bowl to align their brands with causes viewers care about.



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This story first appeared in the Jan. 28, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.