Is There Value in a $5 million 30-Second Ad?

Is There Value in a $5 million 30-Second Ad? 

The Super Bowl can be a career-defining moment. For coaches, players, and even halftime performers, it's truly a make or break moment. Every second counts. 

The lights shine equally bright for the commercials aired during the Super Bowl, and those responsible for their creation.

We all know that the Super Bowl is more than a game. It's an event. It is one of the largest televised events in the United States each year, with audiences exceeding 100 million (apologies to the Puppy Bowl). As a result, it comes with an equally gargantuan price tag. This year, NBC will average more than $5 million for a 30-second spot, equivalent to 10 times the cost of a comparable ad in the 2016 World Series.

For some retail industry businesses with well-known brands and deep ad budgets, it's more of a matter of "how," not a question of "if." Every year, we've come to expect great commercials from Audi, Doritos, and Coca-Cola.

But, what about business-to-business companies? Is the level of exposure worth $5 million? Plus, in reality, the total spend is easily double the cost of the ad buy when you include production, and related public relations, social promotion, and other outreach efforts. Despite these eyebrow-raising numbers and potential challenges, there are still plenty of B2B brands buying ad space.

Last year's game featured an ad from Squarespace, an approachable website-building platform that markets itself to both businesses and individuals, which justifies targeting an audience this large. They, smartly, created a case study of their platform by depicting Academy Award-nominated actor and moonlighting fashion designer John Malkovich's experience building a website through them. 

There are a number of ways to leverage the investment in the big game to make sure a company's message lasts longer than the 30-second spot. For example, Squarespace also used their website, social channels (LinkedIn, Twitter), and catchy taglines: "Get Your Domain Before It's Gone." Not only did Squarespace's campaign pay dividends in buzz and conversation, it won an Emmy for best commercial. 

Whether a B2B brand is debating or decides to invest in a Super Bowl advertisement, they should consider doing so in a bold, creative strategy to cut through the clutter. However, this investment is still only the start; a brand has to invest in engaging content worthy of the price tag, along with promoting the piece before and after the spot airs. 

This Sunday, in between plays and trips to the spread of food, take in the commercials. Note how the companies pair these with social media engagement, conversation, and content together to amplify their message and expand their reach to new audiences.