Is It Worth $5,000,000 To Buy A Super Bowl Ad?

$5 million for 30 seconds. I’ll write that again — $5 million for a 30-second commercial. The Super Bowl is not only football’s biggest day of the year but also advertising’s. Every year the question marketers ask themselves is, was it worth it? Will these brands get the return on investment they need after spending $5 million on one ad? This year we decided to test it out with I-Factor®.

With a few exceptions, I thought this year’s Super Bowl ads were trying a little too hard. There wasn’t any interesting controversy in the game or the ads — definitely no Gillettes here. But, we know that advertising is completely subjective. The ads that I liked from the Super Bowl are different than the ads other people in my office liked, but in order to justify the $5 million price tag, you really need an objective test.

We designed I-Factor® to do just that; it measures your brand’s Irresistibility by revealing the true relationship consumers have with the brand as well as the approach to take to get the greatest impact. The scores range from 0 to 100 quantifying if your target consumers Comprehend and Crave your products, and if they participate in the Craze, or share it with others. Most brands live in the middle from 30-50. When the scores start to inch up to the 70s your consumers start doing the heavy lifting with advocating on your behalf.

We used I-Factor’s real-time social listening component to test out our theories. We even looked at the teams, the coaches and some of the players. The Patriots and Rams and their quarterbacks’ Irresistibility fluctuated as the game went on, and a lot of that had to do with what the score of the game was. The Patriots started the night at 32, and the Rams at 34. By the end of the night when the Patriots were winning, their score was up 6 points to 38, while the Rams only increased one point over the course of the night. Tom Brady started the night at 35 but went up to 45 over the course of the night as it became clearer and the Patriots were going to win the game, while Jared Goff went it the opposite direction.

But the most interesting part of the Super Bowl for me has always been the ads. One question we were particularly interested in was if an irresistible celebrity could help lift a brand up in the moment and stay long after the game is over? In some cases, it seems they do.

Doritos started the night with an I-Factor® score of 35, but after their ad featuring Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys, they were up to 45. We’re currently tracking to see if the increase will last and what dimensions of the relationship were boosted. The big question is, was it strong enough to persuade people to buy more products, more often, for longer periods of time.

On the other hand, celebrities weren’t strong enough for other brands like Stella Artois. Even after their ad with Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges, Stella’s I-Factor® score was only a 30. This raises the question for me, who were they targeting? I happen to love Carrie Bradshaw and Jeff Bridges, but I am definitely not in their target audience. I-Factor® could have helped them hone in on the right message, enabling them to deepen the connection (and likely increase sales).

As always, the question remains if these brands will realize a good return on their investment.

Do you want to know if your ad campaign is working for your ROI? I-Factor can help in just four weeks. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.

© 2019 Sawtooth Group. All rights reserved.

close slider