The Super Bowl is such a cultural touchpoint, millions of people tune in—some just to see the innovative, sometimes controversial, TV commercials brands run during the game. Considering the level of consumer attention the annually televised broadcast generates and how the world’s biggest brands clamor to secure Super Bowl ad slots, buying media time during the game would seem to make good sense for those that want to make a splash with such an enormous audience.
But how much of a return on investment do these ads really generate? According to research done by Kantar, quite a bit—an estimated $4.60 per dollar spent in 2021, in fact. Below, members of Forbes Agency Council explore challenges brands advertising during the Super Bowl in 2023 face and share their best tips for maximizing the ROI of what is likely to be the largest ad spend in any brand’s yearly budget.
Members pictured from left to right.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Competing With The Best
Super Bowl commercials are known for being the best, so if you buy a slot, you’re competing with the best. Your commercial needs to hook your target demographic from the beginning, which is best done through the art of storytelling and by incorporating sentimental details that connect your audience to your commercial from the very beginning. – Scott Keever, Scott Keever SEO
2. Going Up Against Heavy Hitters With Big Budgets
Brands advertising during the Super Bowl are up against many heavy hitters that have the ad spend to run commercials and larger awareness campaigns. I believe interactive campaigns are the way to go. Do something that gets viewers and audiences involved. Depending on your brand and locations, hitting your brand’s regional territories may be the key. – Jessica Kopach, The JKO Agency
3. Connecting A Divided U.S. Consumer Base
With so much uncertainty around buyers’ beliefs and attitudes, a divided U.S. consumer base creates a struggle for Super Bowl LVII advertisers. Historically, the best ads have connected individuals, which is difficult in this current political climate. Achieving organic reach through social media is also challenging, as is calculating the cost, given the boom-or-bust impact of a spot. It’s a game of high-stakes poker like never before. – Scott Harkey, OH Partners
4. Capturing Viewers’ Attention Offline
You don’t have to advertise for a big Super Bowl victory. It is an omnichannel event now. During any Super Bowl party, you’ll see people spending as much time looking at their mobile devices as their TV screens. Engage them there during the pre-and post-game too. The expense is lower and the ROI is sky-high. Be bold, creative, timely and topical. Oreo “won” the Super Bowl during an in-game blackout at the Superdome in 2013 with only inspired social media content. – Stephen Rosa, (add)ventures
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5. Crafting The Launch Of A Yearlong Campaign
The cost of a 30-second spot in the upcoming Super Bowl is up to $7 million. Advertisers are paying for the incredible reach, and when done right, Super Bowl ads can dramatically increase brand or product awareness. True ROI is determined by having an engaging spot that is not created in a vacuum, but rather is used as the launching point for an ongoing campaign that can be run throughout 2023. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
6. Determining Attribution Accurately
Advertising during the Super Bowl is always tricky because attribution is often a challenge. This is where advertisers will need to go beyond making estimations around viewers and attendees by leveraging technology to measure actual key performance indicators. For example, embracing image analytics can really help brands measure the impressions their advertisements are getting and associate them with moments. – Vanhishikha Bhargava, Contensify
7. Overcoming The ‘One And Done’ Effect
The Super Bowl isn’t the ultra-relevant marketing event it once was. Customer experience is increasingly the most powerful marketing that any brand can do. Brands can overcome the “one and done” effect of a Super Bowl commercial by integrating the spot into a larger experiential activation where the commercial is just one touchpoint among many in an exciting and relevant customer journey. – Howard Breindel, DeSantis Breindel
8. Driving The Audience To Take Action
A Super Bowl ad is about status and visibility. But an ad without creativity, engagement, emotional reaction or stickiness (a call to action) is not worthwhile. If you invest in a Super Bowl ad spot, then make it more than a memorable moment. Give the viewer a reason to socialize, click on your site and purchase because a brand must not simply leave an impression, but rather must drive (re)action. – Monica Alvarez-Mitchell, Pulse Creative, LLC
9. Breaking Through The Noise
Nearly every brand out there wants a piece of the Super Bowl pie—from large-scale national TV placements to smaller social media ads. Create a pre-Super Bowl campaign that customers can engage with before, during and after the big game. Giving customers “20% off for 48 hours if team X is up by 10 at the half,” for example, can be a tremendous creative angle to play (play … get it?). – Bernard May, National Positions
10. Reaching Younger Demographics
Companies that want to advertise during the Super Bowl face a big obstacle: The majority of Gen-Zers and young Millennials don’t watch live TV and dislike ads. The best way for brands to reach these demographics and see a good ROI is to launch—weeks prior to the big event—an interesting social media campaign, using influencers and experiential marketing to guide these audiences toward Super Bowl day. – Fernando Beltran, Identika LLC
11. Meeting Viewers’ High Expectations
One major challenge brands will face is how to meet viewers’ high expectations, as the Super Bowl is one of the most highly anticipated events in American culture. People are expecting to see something incredible that they’ll never forget. Brands must be prepared to meet these expectations with engaging, humorous or just plain weird ads—anything to stand out from the crowd! – Rudy Mawer, Mawer Capital LLC
12. Keeping Brand Messaging Light
For the upcoming Super Bowl, keep brand messages light, and don’t use it as an opportunity to interject opinions on global issues. Maintain messaging around how the brand is going to improve your consumer’s life, and, of course, do it in a way that will create social media buzz and a sharable moment. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC
13. Creating An Engaging, Interactive Experience
A major challenge brands will face with the 2023 Super Bowl is improving the overall user experience and offering a more personalized, interactive experience. Creating social media buzz weeks before the game using interactive video ads is key. Advertisers should focus on an engaging, content-controlled, active experience. This will help advertisers increase user satisfaction, loyalty and sales. – Don Dodds, M16 Marketing
14. Finding Ad Space During The Game
The biggest challenge right now would be finding ad space during the Super Bowl. FOX has sold over 95% of the ad space already. A 30-second television ad is currently exceeding $7 million, so cost is another challenge. Brands looking to connect with Super Bowl fans can look at streaming and sponsorship opportunities outside of television ads. – T. Maxwell, eMaximize