The shelf life of Super Bowl advertising

With such a high price tag for Super Bowl ad time, it would seem that only big budget marketers could afford to air a one-and-done creative. During Super Bowl 50 we spotted several small ticket advertisers whose ads during the game had a shorter shelf life than many Super Bowl party appetizers.

This may seem like a bold move, but according to our TGI data, NFL fans in the U.S. are 13 percent more likely than average to signal advertising as an important determinant of their purchasing behaviors. Capturing these fans on the biggest football night of the year can be essential for some brands.

Small budget, big audience

During Super Bowl 50, rookie advertiser Marmot sponsored one 30 second ad during the first quarter of the game. The cheeky creative from the outdoor brand showed the friendship between a man and his marmot, until the man tries to take it one step too far.

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The $4.8 million spot surpassed Marmot’s overall measured media expenditures for 2015 which only reached $3.6 million. Increasing its advertising budget was a small price to pay to reach such a mass audience of 112 million viewers, particularly since our TGI data shows that 33 percent of NFL fans regularly participate in nature or outdoor related activities.

After its initial debut, the creative was not seen on television again until October 30, 2016.  Trying to relive its Super Bowl glory, Marmot made its return to football, running the spot 10 times during regular season NFL games and pre-game programming. These 10 occurrences only cost the brand $2.5 million total, a trivial amount compared to what was spent on 30 seconds of Super Bowl air time.

Online battleground

Web design platforms Squarespace and Wix.com went head to head with one ad each during Super Bowl 50.

In the week leading up to the big game, Squarespace debuted three teaser ads featuring stars of Comedy Central's "Key and Peele." The teaser ads aired a total of 16 times and told a story in which the comedic duo had dreams of becoming sports commentators. The story concluded in an ad during the first quarter of the Super Bowl, where the comedians promoted the web platform as the key to success for people with a passion.

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In total, the TV placements for this campaign cost $6 million, or 20 percent of Squarespace’s overall media budget through October 2016. This was the third consecutive Super Bowl appearance for Squarespace and the Key and Peele campaign ended there.

Squarespace competitor, Wix.com, aired later in the game during the third quarter. The brand featured characters from DreamWorks Animation's "Kung-Fu Panda 3" trying to promote a restaurant via TV ads before realizing Wix is a better solution.

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This ad consumed 10 percent of Wix’s overall budget through October 2016. Unlike Squarespace who ended their television campaign with the Super Bowl, Wix took the opposite approach. The day after the game, this ad was put on the shelf and replaced by a different creative with Kung-Fu Panda 3 characters which ran through the end of March.

Both Squarespace and Wix.com are set to come back this year for Super Bowl LI. Who will win between the two is anyone’s guess.

Making an investment in an event like the Super Bowl can be a big risk for small budget advertisers. Both ad time and creative development are costly and when a brand with limited funds can’t sustain a post-Super Bowl campaign on television, audience recall can be lost. Though marketers may use other media channels, there is no guarantee audiences will associate digital, print or other creatives with a Super Bowl TV commercial. One-and-done ads are an unconventional TV strategy, but some advertisers are confident they can pull it off.



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