Regardless of which metric you choose, the Super Bowl is the biggest advertising event of the year with some correspondingly impressive buys by the biggest spenders. This year, they include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Hyundai.
Super Bowl 54 likely generated more than $400 million in advertising revenue for Fox, which would mark a new record. The game had some 80 units in-game, each 30 seconds long.
It’s a testament to the fact that in an increasingly fragmented television landscape, the Super Bowl remains the odd outlier that continues to draw a large national audience from all demographics.
For this year’s Big Game, Anheuser-Busch InBev appears to be the hands-down winner, buying four 60-second spots for Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold and Budweiser. However, it is believed that AB InBev’s long-term relationship with the Super Bowl—the company has exclusive national alcohol advertising rights for the Big Game—affords it a slight discount from the going rate, which this year is $5.6 million for a 30-second slot. If the global brewer had paid market rate for its four spots, it would have spent $44.8 million.
Even with a discount, AB InBev is very likely still the No. 1 spender; the second biggest, PepsiCo, splashed out up to $33.6 million. If you include Sabra, which it owns in partnership with the Strauss Group, that total increases to up to $39.2 million. The company bought 30-second spots for Pepsi Zero Sugar, Mtn Dew Zero Sugar, SodaStream and Cheetos, plus a 60-second ad for Doritos.
P&G comes in a close third, taking out a 60-second spot showcasing a portfolio of brands, as well as a 30-second spot for beauty brand Olay, and five ads for Tide—one at 45 seconds, two at 15 seconds, and two at 5 seconds, totaling a minute and 20 seconds, bringing P&G’s total ad time in the game up to 2 minutes and 50 seconds. That means the CPG conglomerate likely spent up to $31.7 million on Sunday night.
Automaker Hyundai, meanwhile, is in the mix, taking out three 60-second spots for its flagship brand, the luxury line Genesis and Kia. The Korean auto group spent up to $33.6 million.
AB InBev was also the biggest advertiser last year, unloading $52 million, while Amazon was second with an outlay of $23 million. Alphabet (Google), Deutsche Telekom and Toyota tied for third at $18 million each, according to Kantar, a research and analytics firm.
Automotive as a whole was again one of largest spenders among industries, taking out seven 60-second ads and a 30-second spot. Automakers spent up to $84 million. In addition to Hyundai, expect to see ads from GMC’s Hummer, Volkswagen’s Audi and Porsche, Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep and Toyota.
Beverage was also a top industry. Including Coca-Cola’s 60-second ad introducing its new energy beverage, as well as ads from AB InBev and PepsiCo, the sector spent up to $84 million.
The food category showed up big, in part because of PepsiCo’s Cheetos, Doritos and Sabra. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and Pringles and Kraft-Heinz’s Heinz ketchup and Planters, as well as Hershey’s Reese’s, Mars’ Snickers and Avocados From Mexico all had airtime during the game, adding up to about $61.6 million spent on food spots.
Financial services and tech companies also made their presence known. Quicken Loans, Discover, New York Life and TurboTax all had ads, as did Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google, SquareSpace and Amazon. In addition, streaming services Hulu, Amazon Studios, Disney+ and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi had supporting roles in the Big Game.
The average cost of a 30-second spot during Super Bowl 53 in 2019 was about $4.5 million, according to Kantar, the second-most expensive ever. That equated to about $336 million in revenue.
Super Bowl 2017 still holds the record with in-game ad spending of $390 million, the research firm noted, with the average spend on a 30-second ad of around $4.7 million. The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad was nearly $4.4 million in 2018, about $4.5 in 2016, nearly $4.1 million in 2015 and almost $3.9 million in 2014.
Nearly 194 million adults in the U.S. were expected to watch Super Bowl 54, according to the National Retail Federation, and spend a little over $17 billion. About 80% of the total was likely spent on food, 11% on team apparel and accessories, and 9% on televisions, according to a survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.