Super Bowl LI Broadcast Ad Breakdown

Posted by Grant Morris on Feb 3, 2017 1:52:35 PM


If you're anything like me, you could give a half a damn about football, even though Boston's own New England Patriots and The GOAT himself, Tom Brady are gearing up to open a case of whoopass on those Dirty Birds from Atlanta. All the same, I'll carve out some time between my leisurely coffee sipping and New York Times reading and going to bed to watch, like about a third of America, this weekend's Super Bowl.

If you remember from a while back, I've already written a little bit about the costly business of buying broadcast ad time during major television events. 

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Let's talk scrilla.

Let's not bury the nut here. It costs between $4.5 to $6 Million dollars just to get an ad on screen during the game...depending on when it's being shown.

Why is it so expensive? Great question. Let's break it down. Due to a couple of political changes (not Trump), advertisers saw a pretty big increase in the cost to buy in to broadcast rights for the Super 30% from 2012. Among the largest reasons is that televising an NFL game, regardless of the importance is expensive business. Back in 2011, the NFL hammered out a nine year deal with networks that essentially ensures that they get paid $3.2 BILLION dollars from just those networks. Fox pays the most, largely because they have the NFC rights and the Super Bowl. Adweek claims that they pay abou $1.15 Billion a year just to show football.  In that same article, it's mentioned that ESPN reportedly paid the NFL $1.9 Billion per year for the rights to Monday Night Football, which, as you know, happens in primetime.

Ok, so...the ads.

Now that we got the financials out of the way and you're meanwhile, picking your jaw up off of the floor, let's talk ads. I'm an adman, so obviously the ads are the best part of the entire thing. Somehow, advertisers have figured out how to make ads far more exciting than overpaid sissies running around in spandex pants. Here are some things that you can expect from this year's ads:

1. The Feels

Every Super Bowl has it's ads that are intended to make you cry. Usually, the culprit is Budweiser. So far, from the ads that have leaked, theirs is one of my favorites for "Feeliest". Total Run Time 1:00

2. The Slapsticks

There are a number of funny ads that stick out in memory from years past, and I think Kia's ad this year might join that list. It features Melissa McCarthy as the protaganist and climate change as the antagonist. The solution? Well, an eco-drive Kia, of course, but not before McCarthy tries to save the planet one locale at a time. Total Run Time 1:12

3. The Ones That Fall Flat

So much potential. So much fail. Don't get me wrong, I love The Gronks AND Jeffrey Tambor, but putting the two of them on set does not a miracle make. Thirty seconds is a long time to be waiting for an ad to end...and then it does...finally.

4. The Live One

Yeah, Snikers is doing a live ad during the Super Bowl. It's a first for Super Bowl television advertising, but not unheard of, these days in social media advertising. Stay tuned for my pithy thoughts on it if I ever actually see it.

5. The One About Gender Equality

Audi. Boom. What else can I say? Every year, there's at least one brand that tackles a bigger topic than just their product or their brand, and they get high praise from me for that. TV commercials are a great way to advertise a company, but an even better way to subtlely stand up for what your company believes in.

Another that took a stab at it is the relatively unknown 84 Lumber. The difference between these two ads is that in order to understand what's really going on here, you have to continue the journey. You ever hear the phrase, "Never go to a second location with a hippie?" For the purposes of this blog, I actually care about what's going on with these ads and they still can't get me to re-direct my browser to their website. I'm not the only one who won't, especially when one has been excessively consuming Bud Lights for the majority of the day and the images on the screen begin to blur. Mind you, this ad is not being shown during the Super Bowl broadcast, so theoretically, they can make up their own rules, however, I prefer a nice little tight package with a bow on top.

Update: I finally got over my ego and decided to see how this video ended by following the instructions on their website. YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THE SUPER BOWL TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS?! No one told me I had to wait...I'm so pissed right now.

6. The Easy Rider

Then there are those ones where you were expected to be alive for a hundred years to understand. I'm not a square, so I understood that this was all about The Easy Rider, but I'm more turned on by the car and the idea that the Cohen Brothers directed it than I am about Peter Fonda in tight pants. 

7. The Rejected One

I'm ending it here. The idea that an ad as beautifully produced could be rejected by the NFL flabbergasts me. Jeff Hennion, GNC's executive vice president and chief marketing and ecommerce officer, said Fox first told him Monday that the 30-second ad, which has a market rate of $5 million, could not run because the company sells products that contain two of the 162 substances banned by the NFL -- synephrine and DHEA. I guess I get it, but it would seem to me that morals went out of the NFL's window a while ago, but I digress.


So, there they are! I like these ads. They're beautiful. I want to make ads like these. Here is what I learned here:

Sometimes, agencies get to fancy with their tools and lose sight about the fact that you are literally advertising on the largest stage in the world. You don't necessarily need to pull out all of the "conversion tricks" you can think of in television commercial production. Sometimes the deck is stacked and you can't beat the NFL no matter how beautiful your ad is, and other times, you can beat the system all together with just a beautiful ad that will exclusively air on social media and the company website. I think that makes 84 Lumber the biggest winner of them all. The brand awareness they've been able to drum up is fantastic....I mean, I'm still talking about it and they didn't even have to pay $6 Million bucks to Fox. Respect.


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8. One More Just for Funzies


Topics: commercials

Grant Morris

Written by Grant Morris

What hasn't been said about Grant Morris that hasn't already been said about Aristotle or Socrates. He's wicked deep. A native Louisianian, he's wrestled alligators in the swamps, adventured in the High Sierras of California, filmed with The Westboro Baptist Church, and photographed wildfires and numerous presidents. One of the founders of New Sky Productions, he has been named one of The Nashua Telegraph's 20 Emerging Business Leaders in 2014 and The New Hampshire Union Leaders' 40 Under 40. Grant loves spending time with his wife Caitlyn and their colossal yellow lab, Rufus, in the great outdoors of New Hampshire. Tell Grant 'Hi,' and ask him to tell you a joke.