Do you typically show up to a Super Bowl party ready for football, food or advertisements?
If you’re like us, you pay more attention to the advertising strategies than what’s being dished out on the field.
And it’s not just because the commercials are hilarious or captivating.
The average NFL regular season game earned a mere 1% of what the 2021 Super Bowl raised. This is arguably the biggest media event of the year.
How can we not be excited to see how all the spending data shakes out? Why?
Because brands who are willing to spend $6.5 million on a 30 second placement are brands you should be paying attention to.
Yes, there are the traditional brands you expect—Anheuser Busch and auto companies.
But last year, many non-traditional sponsors who benefited from the pandemic splurged on Super Bowl placements to keep their momentum up. Will we see this again this year?
If they do, you could find your next prospect by paying attention to the industries (and brands) upping their Super Bowl spending. Or when you see your clients’ competitors on the screen, it will have implications for your clients’ media buys.
Many uncommon companies have already announced they’re showing up in NBC’s commercial lineup on February 13th. Let’s see how they compare to last year and what it could mean for your media planning
It’s been a long year. A quick refresher on Super Bowl 2021.
Though the pandemic impacted the NFL season, the NFL was the only major sports league to start and finish on a normal timeline.
Super Bowl 2020 happened right before the pandemic took hold of the U.S. and Super Bowl 2021 happened after an extremely difficult year. People were eager to watch one of their favorite sporting events while watching commercials—nostalgic and novel.
Brands like Fiverr, Reddit, Robinhood, Scotts Miracle-Gro and DoorDash made headlines with clever ads.
But these brands represent just a small slice of the entire lineup. Last year, there were 119 Super Bowl advertisers, which is a 28% increase year-over-year.
Highlights from the top advertisers from 2021 Super Bowl
The top ten advertisers accounted for 46% of the total ad spending value. Noteworthy changes include:
- Anheuser-Busch: Arguably the Super Bowl’s most dedicated and consistent sponsor, the company made up 10% of overall spending in 2021, a 4% increase from 2020. They advertised five of their brands, including Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and the brands’ Seltzers. They didn’t advertise Budweiser products directly for the first time in 37 years, instead redirecting this budget to COVID vaccine PSAs.
- Pepsi increased its Super Bowl ad buys by 110% since pre-pandemic (2019). In 2021 they advertised four brands: Cheetos, Doritos, Mountain Dew and Pepsi Events.
- Deutsche Telekom advertised T-Mobile with memorable ‘Rockstar 5G’ and ‘Family Drama 5G’ commercials featuring celebrities’ dropped calls and how they shaped their lives.
- Rocket Mortgage increased spending 96% year-over-year.
For a breakdown of how much industries contributed to total ad spending, consider the following chart:
Coming off a good year Beer, Wine & Spirits made up more of the total ad spend in 2021. Similarly, Financial & Real Estate accounted for more of the total spending than they did the previous year.
Automotive, on the other hand, shrunk in contribution size.
Of the automakers, these were the top Super Bowl advertisers last year:
- Jeep: They made up 33% of automotive spend.
- General Motors: They made up 17% of automotive spend.
- Toyota: They made up 17% of automotive spend.
- WeatherTech Direct: They made up 17% of automotive spend.
Interesting additions to watch for in Super Bowl LVI 2022
There will be new brands coming to the Super Bowl this year—and they make a lot of sense based on the type of year we had in 2021.
Be on the lookout for FTX (a cryptocurrency exchange) and Crypto.com ads. They didn’t run in last year’s 2021 Super Bowl, but they’re both set to build brand awareness in the U.S. market in 2022. This comes at the heels of the renaming of the Staples Center to Crypto.com Arena.
Past aggressive marketing campaigns have paid off for Crypto.com and it appears the company isn’t slowing down.
Travel is an interesting industry because of its unique whirlwinds. Restless consumers were expected to travel more last year with the increase of vaccines. The travel sector was recovering slowly, but with the arrival of Omicron, not to mention outsized winter storms, travel slowed.
Airlines canceled more than 30,000 flights between Christmas Eve and January 11th, with many sick workers out.
Despite a rough winter, industry leaders have hope for summer travel. Expedia will be running ads for the AirBNB competitor, VRBO, for example.
Taco Bell is coming back to the Super Bowl. Though the fast food chain has advertised in the Super Bowl at least nine times, it’s last appearance was in 2016. This year is special for the company as it celebrates its 60th year.
Lay’s is another national brand coming back to the game. It will run its first Super Bowl ad in 17 years.
And one we’ll be waiting for is Meta’s anticipated commercial for the metaverse, which will draw viewers into their virtual reality products.
Super Bowl LVI is Coming, Get Ready
As advertising nerds, this is one of our favorite events of the year.
We can learn a lot about how our industry (and many others) are recovering from the eventful last two years in one game.
NBC is selling 30-second spots for about a million dollars more than CBS did last year. And even with prices soaring, ad placements sold out extremely fast. By September, the network only had a few spots left.
What does that mean? Brands are jumping to build their audiences in big ways. Other big TV moments are becoming less impactful and the Super Bowl remains at the top of the TV advertising hierarchy.
Brands have put a lot of creativity and dollars into their Super Bowl spots.
And we’re here for it.