Airing a Super Bowl ad will cost you about $150,000 per second.
That’s according various reports placing the cost of 30-second spots for the big game between $4.5 million and 5.5 million.
After disclosing the estimated price in one of the reports, Yahoo! asks the logical follow-up question:
"Why on earth would anyone pay this much money for a single commercial?”
It’s a good question. Especially considering your advertising spend can go much further in promotional products.
At Essent, we’re all about efficiency in business and business processes. So let’s take a look at how efficient a Super Bowl ad actually is in terms of return on investment.
Well, duh! The Super Bowl draws about 110 million viewers.
That’s true, but consider the cost per impression. $4.5 million for 110 million views comes out to about 4 cents for each set of eyeballs.
A regular prime time TV spot costs less than half that, about 1.9 cents per impression, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). A newspaper ad is 1.29 cents per impression. A radio ad is half a cent.
Meanwhile, promotional products beat out all forms of TV, radio and print advertising at 0.4 cents per impression, according to ASI. That Super Bowl ad costs 10 times more per impression.
But Super Bowl ads are so memorable!
People may remember the ad was funny or touching. But they aren’t remembering what you’d want them to remember.
A 2014 study suggested that viewers who saw Super Bowl ads only remembered the brand about a third of the time, which is actually worse than the rate for regular TV commercials.
By comparison, 76 percent of those surveyed remembered the brand on a promotional product they received in the last 12 months, according to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). ASI put the number at 84 percent. A third of the people actually still had the item on them.
But it’s the Super Bowl! The. Super. Bowl.
Running a Super Bowl ad immediately associates you with some of the world’s most successful brands.
But the ads themselves aren’t necessarily leading to conversions. The study that cited 33 percent brand recall for Super Bowl ads also concluded that "80% of the ads don’t sell stuff.”
By comparison, more than half of people who receive a promotional product do business with the advertiser after receiving it (52 percent, according to PPAI, and 62 percent, according to ASI).
The final score
Promotional products have better cost-per-impression, brand recall and conversion rates compared to Super Bowl commercials.
Like the game itself, Super Bowl ads usually don’t live up to the hype. If you actually want to sell something, promotional products provide the better return.