Someone Should Tell Clients That Super Bowl Ads Aren’t Worth the Money


Or you could just direct them toward this study, published in AdAge. Its point is pretty simple: while Super Bowl ads do spark conversations, they’re more about entertainment value than anything else—and a strong majority do not “increase purchase intent” at all.

One researcher tells AdAge that “brand association with Super Bowl commercials is much lower than you’d get with a typical buy”, because viewers remember the commercial itself rather than the product within. Car spots are particularly ineffective because “they all run together in people’s minds”—and can we get a “hell yes” here? The phrases “no money down” and “anti-lock brakes” are all but meaningless to us now.

Jim Horton takes things a step further on the Online Public Relations Thoughts blog, writing that the study’s findings reaffirm the value of PR:

“What is irksome is that the amounts spent for a minutes would fund a major PR campaign and gain as much or more awareness than the ad.  How long will it be before CEOs and marketers realize that the king has no clothes?”

While we feel like he has a good point, we don’t expect to stop seeing overpriced ads for snack foods and automobiles during the Big Game—ads that may amuse us for thirty seconds but will in no way encourage us to buy the featured brand’s products.

We also don’t expect clients to trim their ad budgets in favor of PR, but these findings could hint at such a shift, right?

What do we take from this study, readers?