Over 111 million North American viewers prepare to watch Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday night, anticipating the culmination of the past season's annual football champion.  While the championship game is the highlight of the event, the Super Bowl's highly rated commercials are just as much the attraction of the evening.  This year, the highly coveted media spot has hit new records at an average of $4 million for 30 seconds of air time.  This 14% growth over 2012's $3.5 million record signifies the advertising campaign's effectivity and success over the years.

The Super Bowl commercial became a cultural phenomenon in 1984 with the airing of the Macintosh computer commercial.  Post game conversations centered around the commercial and not the game.  This sensational development has launched a dash to secure air time that has escalated over the years.  In 1967, the average cost for a 30 second spot was $40K ($261K with adjustment for inflation).  In 1984 (Macintosh), a 30 second spot averages $450K ($944K with adjustment for inflation).  The rates have increased at an annual average of 6% over the past 47 years.  2013's growth of 14% over 2013's average rate supports the fundamental economics law of supply and demand.

Some memorable companies in Super Bowl history can be highlighted below:

  • 1973 – Noxzema and Master Lock 
  • 1973 – Master Lock 
  • 1977 – Xerox
  • 1980 – Coca-Cola
  • 1984 – Apple's Macintosh 
  • 1985 – Apple
  • 1990 – Nissan 
  • 1993 – McDonald's
  • 1995 - Budweiser 
  • 1995 – Nissan 
  • 2000 – Year of the dot com commercials.
  • 2002 - Budweiser 
  • 2009 – Doritos
  • 2009 – Coca-Cola
  • 2009 - PepsiCo
  • 2010 – Snickers 
  • 2010 - Focus on the Family
  • 2010 - Doritos
  • 2011 - Chrysler 
  • 2012 - Chrysler 
  • 2012 - The Avengers
  • 2012 - Honda
Whether a company experiences a significant turnaround in their Super Bowl air time investment is dependent on more than the commercial.  Is the product sustainable by consumer needs.  Is there significant customer service, product support, product quality, and product longevity to support the potential business influx?  These factors play a significant role in determining the advertisement's success.  The payoff may be increased sales or achievement of desired agendas.  One thing is certain, in spite of whether a company recoups its monetary investment in a desired time frame or not, the creative commercials will brand cultural inferences for years to come.
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Jenny Tsai

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