Inside the advertising industry, the Super Bowl has long been the "game within the game." Every year, while the NFL's last two teams standing battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy, dozens of marketers compete to capture the most eyeballs among the game's 100-million-plus television viewers. At least, that's how it used to be.
The big game itself is basically the same as when the Packers defeated the Chiefs to claim the first AFL-NFL World Championship in 1967, yet the ground rules for Super Bowl advertisers have dramatically changed over the past few years, squarely because of the game-changing influence of social media and online teaser ads. For Super Bowl XLVIII the tried-and-true model of creating a 30-second spot to debut during halftime—with hopes of generating the most Monday-morning watercooler buzz—is the equivalent of a leather football helmet.
And that's not just because the price tag for a half minute has escalated from $42,000 in '67 to this year's record $4 million, a number the game's broadcaster, Fox, neither confirms nor denies. CBS reportedly garnered $3.8 million for a 30-second spot a year ago, but several factors would seem to justify Fox's rate hike, including the probability that XLVIII's viewership will almost certainly surpass last year's 108.4 million and perhaps break the 111.3 million mark set in 2012.
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