There's one more aspect that may still make the high price of a Super Bowl ad worth it: digital media. Companies can promote their ad before and after the game to a large audience, further spreading the effectiveness of their campaigns. Brands can also build digital platforms to promote the ideas behind their company.
For the first time, SunTrust will this year be advertising during the big game. The bank's ad will focus on getting Americans to make a commitment to better financial health. While the company isn't playing into tried-and-true Super Bowl ad standards, like heartstring-pulling moments or star names to deliver its message, it believes its "Hold Your Breath" ad will resonate during the Feb. 7 Super Bowl 50 broadcast.
"There's a lot of reasons why the Super Bowl is cost-effective for us, and actually more efficient than other mediums because of the visibility you get before, during and after," said SunTrust chief marketing officer Susan Somersille Johnson. "Because we're sparking a conversation, we're trying to get people to take action and take the first step toward financial confidence. The Super Bowl is just one part of a complete package to do that, but it has the loudest voice and biggest reach of any method we'll use."
SunTrust created a website called "onUp" where people can publicly declare their pledges to better their financial help. It also allows them to create their own versions of the Super Bowl ad online, which they can share on platforms like Facebook.
"It would not justify the investment without the digital component," Somersille Johnson said. "We're doing something a little different. We're not launching a product. We need to get people aware of this issue. … The best way to do that is through the Super Bowl stage with the digital wrapped around it."
Nathanson of MoffettNathanson points out that getting people to participate with a campaign digitally can also give more insights on potential customers.
"Most (companies) will want the combination of digital and TV," he said. "You want to move people to some kind of digital platform for customer acquisition or greater product knowledge. You can use television to drive people to digital."