The Super Bowl isn’t just known for the actual game, great food and extravagant half time show. Everyone knows that the advertisements in between portions of the game are just as anticipated as the actual game. Weeks leading up to the super bowl people always question which companies will shell out the most money for commercials. And more importantly who will have the best advertisements. Some companies go for funny, others go for serious political issues and then you have some you try to tug at the heart string. Every year there are tons of articles post super bowl about who had the best ad in each of these categories. There are also tons of debates on which companies that really missed the mark.
Due to the amount of viewers (over 113 million to be exact), the anticipation of great commercials and a guarantee surplus of potential customers, companies have been willing to dish out the big bucks for these ads. This year the price went up to 5 million dollars for thirty seconds. That is over $150,000 per second. But year after year, 2017 included, companies continue to pay for these valuable seconds.
I started wondering is it worth it? While all these people are watching the Super Bowl, they are also on social media. They are constantly trying to multi task by watching the Super Bowl and see what their friends and the world are thinking online. This year there was over 27 million tweets using the Super Bowl hashtag #SB51. The Super Bowl itself had over 113 million viewers. And this number was not just a fluke. The viewership of the Super Bowl has continued to rise over the years.
Some of the ads went viral before they had even aired on TV to these 113 million viewers. This is due to the increase usage of social media during the Super Bowl For example the Audi ad had millions of views on YouTube before it aired during the Super Bowl. It was already a hit. So I ask why waste the 10 million dollars to air it on the Super Bowl? It doesn’t make sense to me. Is it to rub it in that your company has money? Yes, the advertisement ended up being seen more because of the Super Bowl but was it worth the money when Audi got countless views for free. The extra money guaranteed it would be viewed by millions. The success of the ad on YouTube was just luck. The ad being on TV also made it eligible for the company to be written about in all the best commercial articles that were written following the Super Bowl.
Even with that logic I still wondered if it would make sense for companies to just tweet their ads out using the hashtag? Especially since so many viewers are already on social media during the game. If companies switched to posting their commercials solely online during the Super Bowl then even more viewers and individuals would log in online to see these ads. They would be expecting to see these commercials via the hashtag. A problem that could arise if this became the new norm, is site traffic. As seen by Journey 84’s website crash, having a large amount of individuals go to your website at the same time could easily crash it. So with an increase of individuals online, companies would have to make sure their websites, videos and social media feeds could handle the traffic. With an increased amount of companies tweeting their commercials it could make an over crowded social media feed which could result in the right people missing your advertisement. But that already happens on TV. I missed countless of commercials that were deemed “the best”. I saw most of “the best” ones later due to the articles and lists that were on most online sites. If the system switched to companies posting these commercials online then I feel these lists would adjust accordingly and also post the commercials that just aired online.
The biggest challenge would be this social change. Right now the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl because of the advertisements on the TV. While watching this last Super Bowl, my friends and I talked through the game but would quiet down to watch the commercials. We originally were live streaming the game from the internet so we had no commercials. We sought out the commercials and switched our TV around until we could also see the advertisements. It is part of the Super Bowl culture. Yes the price is ridiculous- and I can only imagine that it will rise- but the commercials make the game. Even the bad commercials get talked about for days, even weeks, after the game is over. So while the cost may be high, I do believe that these advertisements are worth it for the companies. Social media may be an added bonus during the Super Bowl but it will not be replacing the actual television during the game any time soon.