Do Superbowl Commercials Even Matter Anymore?


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If you thought the Superbowl ads were lacking a bit this year, you weren't wrong.

If you’re like me, you only watch the Super Bowl for its famously entertaining commercials (and usually, a day or two later on YouTube avoiding the game itself). And perhaps just like me, you and a lot of other people are feeling a bit disappointed because this year a lot of companies that have been on the Super Bowl commercial train for years suddenly jumped off. By early December only 90% of slots that Fox had for ads were sold out, which sounds like a high number until you know it’s one which is usually reached by September or October. While we certainly saw the usual Budweiser ads (like the one below), some companies that used to be big on these commercials but didn’t participate this year include Taco Bell, Toyota, Butterfinger, and Frito Lay.

Some of the reasons why these and other brands decided to dip are attributed to how expensive the commercial slots are, which aren’t really worth it considering the high risk, high competition, and low returns. Super Bowl commercials also need a lot of digital support, a PR push, and agency and production fees. Additionally, NFL ratings have been dropping – 8% down from 2015 during the 2016 season. Social media has also changed the game for Super Bowl commercials, allowing for swift and well-spread scrutiny if something seems not right to the audience. Plus, with the world of branded content stepping up its game, any ad you see on TV or even on your phone has the potential to be just as good in quality as a Super Bowl commercial.

So what makes Super Bowl Sunday so great for commercials anymore? While there is a lot of chance and money poured into these, there is still heightened brand awareness and sales; but brands are beginning to wonder why take the risk and spend the money when they can just pump out a similar commercial any other day of the year. If this downslide in entertaining commercial content continues through the years, this viewer certainly has no need to sit through the football anymore, and I’m certain I’m not the only one.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think of the ads this Superbowl? Let us know in the comments below!