The multimillion dollar Super Bowl gamble

    Super Bowl advertising is big business, but it’s also a big gamble. Check out what those who have studied the ads are saying.

    There’s more riding on the Super Bowl than just bets on whether the Saints or Colts will win.  Corporate marketers have bet millions of dollars that their advertisements will translate into profits.


    “It can be somewhat of craps shoot,” says University of Delaware marketing professor John Antil.  He’s studied Super Bowl advertising trends for more than 20 years.  He says one of the biggest trends this year is perennial Super Bowl advertisers sitting it out.  Pepsi, GM, and FedEx have all decided to steer clear of advertising during Super Bowl XLIV.  For GM, Antil says public perception would not be favorable for a company that’s recently come out of bankruptcy and then spends millions on a 30 seconds of advertising.  But there are plenty of other companies willing to pay as much as $3 million for 30 seconds of time.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    But does their wager pay off?  Antil says it’s hard to measure what impact the ads have on the bottom line, “It’s no where near an exact science.”  He says companies that do a better job leveraging their ad time to drive people to their website can make the high price tag seem like a more reasonable investment.  That’s especially true if the Super Bowl ad is the subject of water cooler conversations the next day.  “If you start taking total impressions in mind, the word-of-mouth, it actually can turn out to be bargain price compared to other inventory that one might buy.”

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal