A Super Bowl advertisement is the most expensive ad in television, and with the game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots expected to be the most-watched event of the year, the 2012 edition may provide more than the usual bang for the buck.
After all, it’s a unique opportunity for advertisers because Super Bowl ads have essentially become in-game content for fans watching at home.
This year’s ads on NBC’s broadcast cost $3.5 million on average for every 30 seconds. Which advertisers are willing to spend that kind of money year after year? More than a few. Here are the top 10 Super-Bowl advertisers, ranked by total ad dollars spent in the past 10 years (2002-2011), according to media valuation firm Kantar Media.
By Darren Rovell
Posted Jan 31 2012
Total ad spending (2002-11): $36.8 Million
Super Bowl XLVI is Careerbuilder’s eighth-consecutive appearance. Most of its ads have used chimpanzees in office situations. Last year's spot featured two groups of chimps blocking a guy in his parking spot, certainly one of the job site's best efforts.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $38.8 Million
Hyundai has had an incredible run of late as sales in 2011 broke all its records with more than 645,000 cars sold. The one thing Hyundai didn't do well in 2011 apparently was its Super Bowl ads. The brand bought three spots in last year's game and two of them were ranked the worst by USA Today's Ad Meter. Even a former Super Bowl hero didn't help.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $39.2 Million
In eight of the last 10 years, Warner Bros. has used the Super Bowl to advertise its movies, sometimes buying two spots in a game. Movies advertised during the game include “Batman Begins,” “Starsky & Hutch,” Poseidon,” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” Like most Super Bowl ads, there’s no correlation between ad spending and box office success.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $40.3 million
This may be the first surprise on the list because fans wouldn't immediately recognize the parent company of NBC Universal and CNBC as a Super Bowl advertiser. This is the first Super Bowl broadcast on NBC under Comcast's watch, but the company has purchased ads in seven of the last 10 Super Bowls. None of the ads have been too memorable. If there's one, it might be The Slowskys, a family of turtles the company used to advertise its high-speed Internet product.
Note: Comcast is the majority holder of NBC Universal and CNBC.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $45.9 million
Just like Time Warner (Warner Bros.) has used the Super Bowl for movie ads, so, too, has Viacom for its Paramount Pictures. While the standard trailers are usually featured, the company goes big during the Super Bowl. Last year, Paramount promoted five films including “Captain America,” “Rango,” “Super 8,” “Thor” and “Transformers.” How does parent company Viacom afford all these ads? Well, these five movies earned a combined $958 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $66.8 million
Coke loves to use Santa and polar bears, and the company will use the white, furry critters again this year. The brand is most memberable for its Mean Joe Greene spot in 1980, which the company spoofed with Troy Polamalu for Coke Zero in 2009. From 2000-2011, Coca-Cola only had ads in five Super Bowls. Over the past 10 years, Coke has used Stewie from “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.”
Total ad spending (2002-11): $73.9 million
You probably don’t remember any ad except “I’m going to Disney,” which takes place after the game. That’s because Disney believes that advertising its movies during the Super Bowl, when a third of America is watching, is worth the money. In 2011, Disney’s movie of choice to promote was “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Total ad spending (2002-11): $82.8 million
Times have somtimes been tough in the car business in the past four decades, but General Motors spends far more than its competitors on Super Bowl ads. Most recenty, GM didn’t buy ad time in 2009 or 2010, after saying the timing was wrong (it was in the midst of a federal bailout and a corporate bankruptcy). But it came back in 2011. Spending big doesn’t always work out, as GM was overshadowed by its competitors. Volkswagen had one of the best ads of the Super Bowl with the “Darth Vader” spot, and Chrysler used Eminem.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $174 million
PepsiCo has spent more than double what Coca-Cola has on Super Bowl ads in the last decade, but remember that the companu also has a huge snack business. Its brand of choice for Super Bowl ads in recent years has been Doritos. (The company has also done well by having viewers submit hilarious ads. I loved last year’s spots with the guy licking his fingers and the pug going after the Doritos through the house screen. My favorite all time Pepsi spot? The ad where the Coke delivery guy was caught on a security camera trying to steal a Pepsi.
Total ad spending (2002-11): $239.1 million
The beer titan and its parent, inBev, have purchased more Super Bowl ads than any other company. In addition to Bud & Bud Light, the import brand Stella Artois made it on the air last year. AB virtually owns the Super Bowl; competitors haven’t even tried to advertise. Bud Light has a massive lead as the best-selling beer in America, but Budweiser just slipped to No. 3 behind Coors Light. Anheuser-Busch’s best Super Bowl moments have included the Bud Bowls, the Frogs and Whazzup!