Perhaps the most frequent question I have about the Super Bowl is whether the ad buy is a judicious use of spending. My typical response to this is it’s worth it for the right brand with the right goals. I then will parlay into a discussion about how that $3 million dollars is not only about the 30-second spot that reaches millions of people: Brands are paying for pre-game intrigue and interest and post-game exposure and discussion. In addition, some brands will take their presence a step further for launching a massively new campaign. The point of this is to say that $3 million buys you quite a lot of exposure if you are successful and, especially for a brand with a strong strategy, could be a very wise investment. I’ve always said and believed this, and I don’t foresee changing this perspective in the near future.
However, along with touting the potential benefits of spending in the Super Bowl, I’ve also been very cautionary about the ability to gauge effectiveness. Indeed, Tim Calkins and I wrote an article about just how difficult, and perhaps impossible, a task it would be to accurately measure Super Bowl return on investment. And, while I stand by the fact that determining the precise ROI, or even a good approximation, is a herculean task, I was pleased to see a recent article by AdAge that discussed some metrics of success for being in the Super Bowl.
In this article, AdAge reports that more than 21 million consumers watched ads after the 2008 game online, Audi saw a 200 percent increase in web traffic within a month following the game, and E-trade had a 32 percent increase in the funded accounts opened after the game. These are only a few examples mentioned in the article. While this does not provide a complete, or even clean, metric of ROI, I think it does demonstrate the power of having a large audience interested in watching your ad. Put differently, while I don’t expect to see a metric of Super Bowl ROI in the near future, I think the accumulating evidence does indeed suggest that a Super Bowl ad buy can be a very effective use of one’s advertising budget. However, I’ll also stick by my comment that it has to be the right brand with the right strategy.
– Derek Rucker