Super Bowl Ads Lean More Nonsensical Than Political

For Super Bowl LII, NBC sold an estimated $500 million in ads with an average of $5 million per 30-second spot. Which seems like a lot, but not without some major benefits.

According to The New York Times, 55% of Millennials said they consider the Super Bowl to be a social or entertaining spectacle as opposed to a sporting event, and a third of Millennials would prefer a boring Super Bowl with great commercials versus a great game with boring commercials. In the age of cutting the cord, gaining the opportunity to have over 111 million people view your ad might make the $5 million price worth the investment.

At the end of the night, who were the winners?

Unlike last year’s commercials, this year had more crowd pleasers than political statements. We learned it’s always possible to be in a #TideAd, the New York Giants had a little more free time than they’d prefer, and Cardi B makes for an excellent backup Alexa.

Ad Age editor Brian Braiker writes in his Ad Age review of 45 ads from the game, “The 2018 Super Bowl spots were generally either silly or sincere—and all of them played it safe.”

But playing it safe can mean connecting with bigger core audiences. USA Today said Amazon’s Alexa ad won among male respondents and respondents of all ages from under 21 to 64. The NFL’s “Touchdown Celebrations to Come” ranked no. 1 among female respondents. And Budweiser’s “Stand by You” was first among respondents 65 and over. Dilly dilly.

In the end, it seemed that there was no one clear winner as different shoppers gravitated toward different messages and styles of humor. That’s in large part because each advertiser was true to themselves and true to their shopper knowing where and how to weave in the sincere or the nonsensical.

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