Consumers, Ad Execs Deem Super Bowl Ads Effective, But Over-Priced

By Joe Mandese Editor, MediaPost

Few people – whether everyday consumers or ad industry pros – would argue that the Super Bowl isn’t a big advertising event. But when it comes to the actual value that Super Bowl spots yield, both consumers and media/planners think they’ve become over-priced. In fact, the industry pros – the ones that should have a more astute knowledge of the actual business value – actually had a more negative view of the cost-effectiveness of the pricey $2 million-plus ad units.

While slightly less than two-thirds of an InsightExpress survey of 500 consumers said they did not think Super Bowl spots were worth their price, three-quarter of a MediaPost Advisory Panel of planners and buyers felt that way.

Price aside, both consumers and the ad executives, however, deemed Super Bowl ads extremely effective and both groups said they were a main reason why they watch the Super Bowl itself. They also both believed that consumers pay more apt attention to ads in the Super Bowl than in other forms of TV advertising.

However, when asked how marketers and agencies rationalize the hefty cost of Super Bowl spots, the overwhelming majority of planners/buyers said it had nothing to do with advertising itself, but was more of a public relations factor. Eighty-three percent of the media execs said “publicity” surrounding the Super Bowl and Super Bowl-related ads were the No. 1 factor, followed by “impact/awareness” (74 percent). The egos of marketers and buyers involved was cited by half the respondents, while impact on consumer purchasing behavior ranked fourth (22 percent).

About a third (35.4 percent) of the MediaPost panel said they have ever purchased time on the Super Bowl for a client.

Interestingly, slightly more planners/buyers said they watch the Super Bowl to see the ads (26 percent) rather than the game itself (18%), while 42 percent said it was to see both. Amazingly, 15 percent of the industry pros said they don’t’ watch the Big Game at all.

Is The $2 Million+ Cost Of A Super Bowl Ad Worth The Price?

Consumers Planners/Buyers Yes 19.8% 13.9% No 61.4% 75.3% Not Sure 18.8% 10.8%

Source: InsightExpress survey of a consumer panel (500) and MediaPost’s Advisory Panel (158), January 2004.