Super Bowl Ads Are Popular, but Are They Effective?

by Julie Hall

Many of the ads that will be shown during the Super Bowl this weekend have already been shared online, and for good reason.  It’s understandable that companies would want to expand their reach when the rate for a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl has topped $4 million this year (and of course that doesn’t include the cost of production, talent, agency fees, etc.).

Although Super Bowl ads are certainly entertaining and many go viral online before they’re ever seen on TV, they may not be effective at the one metric that matters most from a business perspective—increased sales.  A recent study found that 80 percent of Super Bowl ads fail to increase sales or consumers’ purchase intent, in contrast to 60 percent of non-Super Bowl ads that were found to be ineffective by these measures.

There certainly are other advantages for running a Super Bowl ad, including brand positioning and awareness and that’s the lesson all marketers should take from this study.  Any communications tactic, whether it’s a 30-second Super Bowl ad, a news release, a special event or anything in between, should always be done with a constant focus on meeting the intended strategic objective.

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