In the age of YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, why are marketers still willing to throw down millions of dollars for a 30-second Super Bowl ad? It’s simple. The NFL’s marquee event is TV’s biggest game in town, and nothing else even comes close.
“A lot of the trends that we’ve seen in the media world over the past decade have only made the Super Bowl more important,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Calkins, who has studied Super Bowl commercials for years, said the game bucks advertising trends in an important way. While network TV ratings are struggling, the NFL championship remains the best way to reach as many people as possible at once.
About 112 million people watched last year’s matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. More than 61 million tuned in for the post-game show, according to Nielsen.
Other NFL playoff games trailed the Super Bowl by tens of millions of viewers. The only non-football telecast to crack the top five most-watched events was the Academy Awards, which was watched by a comparatively paltry 34 million people.
The Super Bowl is also just as much about the commercials as it is about the game itself.
“There’s a symbolic nature of Super Bowl advertising that just isn’t the same as other platforms,” Calkins said. “A Super Bowl ad used to be a Super Bowl ad, but over the past decade, it’s really become a two-week extravaganza.”
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