With two months to go before the Feb. 2 Super Bowl, Fox had already sold out of all available ad slots for the game, the Wall Street Journal reported—but those who shelled out an average $4 million for 30 seconds of airtime might be fooling themselves.
Some 80% of Super Bowl ads don't help sales at all, says a study reported by AdAge. Non-Super Bowl commercials, on the other hand, do better: Only 60% fail to increase sales.
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The study by research firm Communicus was based on pre- and post-game interviews with 1,000 people who watched the 2012 and 2013 games. (What fared well in 2013: Budweiser's "Brotherhood" ad.
What didn't: Tide's "Miracle Stain" ad.) Super Bowl ads are, researchers note, better-remembered than your typical commercial: Some 44% recall having seen game ads versus 32% who recall regular ads.
Trouble is, while viewers may remember the ad's storyline, only 35% tend to remember the brand involved. In non-game ads, the figure is about 50%. Two possible issues at play, per Communicus' CEO: In many cases, the ads make a big game debut but then largely disappear from the air, and "one ad exposure often isn't enough to make anything happen." Second, "the advertisers really dial up the entertainment quotient" in hopes of making best-of lists, and the brand association can suffer "just because of the way the creative is structured." (Another million-dollar question: Will this year's half-time act be memorable?)
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