MSUToday
Published: Jan. 31, 2017

Advertisers spend record high dollars for Super Bowl commercials

Contact(s): Robert Kolt Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing office: 517-355-2314 cell: 517-881-4446 kolt@msu.edu, Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709 Kristen.Parker@cabs.msu.edu, Nikki O'Meara College of Communication Arts and Sciences office: (517) 353-0706 wickhamn@msu.edu

Advertisers could pay as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl, said Robert Kolt, professor of practice in Michigan State University’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

But the best ads aren’t always the most elaborate, he said. Sometimes, simple, creative, humorous or emotional ads are the best investment a company can make, even at record high prices.

“Super Bowl ads are incredibly expensive and the prices keep going up dramatically every year,” Kolt said. “But advertisers say the spots are a good investment and sell products and help brand companies, so advertisers are lined-up to get in the game. The Super Bowl delivers the biggest television audience across all demographic groups every year – more than any other American event.”

In recent years, automobile commercials have been highly rated among faculty and viewer favorites, while spots for beer, pop and snacks are always popular. But ad trailers for soon-to-be released movies are usually the worst rated ads in the game.

Kolt and other faculty from the department will gather for the 20th consecutive year on Super Bowl Sunday to rate game commercials for quality, production value, creativity, branding and strategy execution immediately after the spots air. The real-time faculty ad analysis often reflects what popular polls report are viewer favorites.

This year’s faculty ad rating event will begin at 6 p.m. at Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe, 1601 W. Lake Lansing Road, East Lansing. Faculty only rate commercials that air during the game, and don’t rate pregame, halftime or postgame ads because those spots cost less.

MSU faculty report many of the best ads in recent years have aired in the first quarter of the game because advisers don’t like to take risks that viewership might drop substantially during a “blowout” game, Kolt said. Some high-quality popular ads have also aired in the final two-minute break before the end of an exciting game, and for advertisers, that’s like winning the lottery jackpot for a big audience.

Ad ranking results from the Super Bowl rating party will be available immediately when the game ends.

This year’s Super Bowl airs at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on the FOX TV network. 

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