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The History of Super Bowl Advertising and What to Expect for 2022’s Big Game

On February 13th, a hundred million viewers across the country and world will be tuned in to the NFL’s biggest game. As marketers, we’re not in the business of making predictions on who’s going to win the Super Bowl. Rather, we’re in the business of analyzing the ads that are aired between big plays. 

So while you’re looking at your squares board or prop bets, know that there are a group of marketers and advertisers assessing the strategies deployed by companies paying millions of dollars for the messages to be seen. What can we expect to see this year? Let’s first take a look at the history of Super Bowl advertising.

Super Bowl Ads Throughout the Years

The first ever Super Bowl was held in 1967, and saw the Packers beat the Chiefs by a score of 35-10. That year, the big game was televised on both NBC and CBS. Companies were able to advertise on NBC for $37,500 for a 30-second spot, while CBS charged $42,500 for the same length. As time went on, football viewership increased, and ad prices skyrocketed. Prices for 30-second spots were:

  • $78,200 in 1970
  • $222,000 in 1980
  • $700,400 in 1990
  • $2,100,000 in 2000
  • $2,954,000 in 2010

Now, in 2022, it’s been rumored that NBC is asking for $6.5 million for a 30-second commercial. For some corporations, the advertisements they’ll run on the Super Bowl will consume a large (or entire) chunk of their marketing budgets. How did we get to the point of placing so much value on these ads? Because businesses have the captive eyes of a large portion of the country for a 3-4 hour window during the biggest football night of the year.

Many marketing historians credit Apple as being the originator of the blockbuster Super Bowl ads with their 1984 Macintosh commercial. At the time, Apple was a rising star in the tech industry but faced the threats of the big bad IBM dominating the market. Their ambitious ad campaign cost almost $400,000 to produce, and twice as much to air. But it also helped Apple’s brand gain leverage and opened the floodgates for the campaigns that would follow.

Some of the Super Bowl’s greatest commercial hits include  Cindy Crawford’s Pepsi Ad in 1992, Snicker’s 2010 Ad featuring Betty White (RIP), and Mountain Dew’s “Puppymonkeybaby” in 2016. As a hip-hop fan, I also have to give a shoutout to last year’s “Drake From State Farm.” The social media era has only further popularized Super Bowl ads, as we’re treated with Twitter threads of live reactions, blog articles breaking down the year’s best ads, and more. All signs point towards the popularity (and pricing) of Super Bowl ads continuing to rise in the next decade

2022 Super Bowl Ad Expectations

Super Bowl LVI is right around the corner, and we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 2022 ads. According to AdWeek, there were only 5 remaining slots to fill all the way back in September 2021–clearly, companies have been waiting for their chance to get their brand messages out to a captive audience! At a $6.5 million price for 30-second spots, the commissions must be nice for that ad sales staff. Here are some of the things that we’re looking forward to the most in advertising’s biggest night:

  • Taco Bell is set to have its first Super Bowl ad in 5 years. Yo quiero some new advertising! We’re excited to see what the ad agency Deutsch LA put together for this year’s comeback ad.
  • Flamin’ Hot ads. PepsiCo announced that they’ll be hitting the scene with ads promoting their “Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy” and “Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch” flavors. Rumor has it there will be a pretty large celebrity appearance attached. Fingers crossed it’s the guy from the Rick Roll videos!
  • Crypto making a Super Bowl Ad appearance! The crypto craze went full bore in 2021, and Crpyto.com will be making its first appearance in the Super Bowl ad shuffle in 2022. After an October ad starring Matt Damon released, we can’t wait to see what comes next!

 If you’re one of us, join us! The Fargo-based group AAF-ND will be hosting an event on February 17th called TV Timeout that breaks down the best & worst of this year’s advertisements. Take your own notes while you’re at home, and join our event from the comfort of your own couch to hear from a panel of marketing professionals who will give their opinions from the big game’s advertising. For more information or tickets, visit aaf-nd.org!

Written by Brady Drake

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