Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Marketing

Advisor

Anne Velliquette

Reader

Sarah Jensen

Abstract

By now, we have well established that the Super Bowl is the holy grail of marketing, the championship for the battle of the brands, and the ultimate showcase of creative prowess which determines bragging rights. This American phenomenon is the exception, because it’s the one time on the calendar where viewers are mesmerized by commercials instead of tuning them out as noise. There are critical strategic objectives which can be satisfied, revolutionizing the brand in the eyes of the consumer and drastically expanding brand awareness. We know the vast benefits that well-executed marketing schemes can have for companies, especially during the Super Bowl, which initiate significant implications. The proof of effectiveness is obvious when observing statistics for the 2018 Super Bowl:

• An average viewership of 103.4 million, escalating to 112.3 million at the end of the game. (Nielsen 2018)

• 68% of homes with functioning T.V’s were tuned into the Super Bowl broadcast. (Nielsen 2018)

• 170.7 million social media interactions across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (Nielsen 2018)

• Digital viewership of 2.02 million viewers a minute, a streaming record. (Nielsen 2018)

• Price of 30 second advertisement maximized at $5.2 million (American Marketing Association)

• Aggregate Super Bowl ad spending over 52 year history (1967-2018): $6.9 billion adjusted for inflation. (AdAge 2018)

Granted, there are some viable concerns associated with Super Bowl advertising. Because of immense scrutiny, marketers need to be conscious of the impact repercussions of attempting to make a statement which backfires can have. Attending to and reconciling public backlash can be difficult and can severely damage brand perception. Negative news surrounding the NFL have also been hot topics of debate recently. However, while some of these issues may erode some viewership in the short run, as 2018 statistics minimally decreased from 2017, the future trajectory of the Super Bowl is not truly threatened. Actually, the New York Times (Maheshwari, 2018) explains how “In an era of cord-cutting and ad-skipping, the Super Bowl is a sweet salve for the nation’s marketers.” Because of the evolution of on-demand, marketers are forced to deliberate if T.V. advertisements are worth it, with one exception: live sports. The Atlantic (Thompson, 2013) portrays this concept perfectly, stating “But in a time-delayed video world, the biggest games still drive dependable live audiences, making sports rights the most valuable resource in the whole TV ecosystem.” The consequence of this reality: almost no one records on-demand sports to skip the commercials because we can’t avoid the social media buzz which chronicles how games develop. Because the love for sports will never expire, the Super Bowl will never become obsolete for marketers.

At the end of the day, the Super Bowl is the marketing anomaly that has solidified its stranglehold as the pinnacle of advertising. The big game is so rooted into American culture that Super Bowl Sunday has become a holiday for millions across our great nation. As CNN Money (Disis, 2018) explains, “It's simple. The NFL's marquee event is TV's biggest game in town, and nothing else even comes close.” Marketers who need to distinguish their brand as a supreme offering to secure competitive advantage over competitors (ahem, everyone) need to seize the moment. The habitual winners of Super Bowl advertising significantly elevate their status in the hearts and minds of the American people. My declared Super Bowl advertising champion, Anheuser-Busch InBev (responsible for Budweiser and Bud Light), absolutely dominates the American beer market. Super Bowl regulars undoubtedly think of Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” (2014) spot with the legendary Clydesdales or the dramatic “Bud Bowl” (1989-91) series when they crack a cold brew. My theory: it’s no mistake that the best in the Super Bowl advertising realm is also the “King of Beers” because of their supreme strategy and execution on the marketing gridiron’s biggest stage.

Keywords

Super Bowl, Marketing

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