Super Bowl ads: What’s $600 million between friends?

January 18, 2011

It’s almost time again for the Super Bowl, which means this is when all the talk starts about those famous, and famously expensive, commercials. Just how expensive? Kantar Media came out with a study today that shows Anheuser-Busch InBev, Pepsi, Walt Disney, General Motors, Coca-Cola have combined to spend nearly $600 million on Super Bowl ads over the last 10 years. For those of you bad with numbers, that’s more than half-a-billion dollars. Keep in mind, General Motors wasn’t even part of the game for 2009 or 2010.

This year, however, General Motors is back in a big way – leading a pack of auto makers who, as we pointed out in a story last week, will dominate this year’s game. Up to nine different auto manufacturers are expected to run spots this year. Kantar points out that five years ago only four car companies ran spots. Ten years ago only one car company bought time.

Kantar digs ups a few other interesting tidbits as well. Of course, everyone knows that prices have climbed over the last decade. But the amount of commercials running during the broadcast is also rising. Last year, the CBS broadcast contained a record 47 minutes 50 seconds of commercial time. A total of 104 individual messages aired. Who has time for a football game with all those advertisements?

It’s not just the big boys who are responsible for this ad bonanza. Kantar says that first-time advertisers account for about 20-25 percent of the ad roster. And some of these are relatively small organizations, at least when it comes to ad spending. One-third of Super Bowl advertisers put more than 10 percent of their full-year media budgets into the game.

With that as an appetizer, let the countdown to this year’s game begin.

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