Super Bowl Ads Cost More Than Just A :30 Second Spot
After a suspenseful and entertaining journey, Super Bowl 49 has come to a close with a big win for the Pats and Tom Brady. Our focus, as ever, was centered not only on the game itself, but on the commercials debuted during the game. Brands forked out the highest ad price in Super Bowl history to the tune of $4.5 million for a 30-second advertising spot. This, in return, reached the largest ever Super Bowl audience of 114.4 million. It has been confirmed that this was largest recorded TV audience EVER in US history – and the number doesn’t include groups at sports bars or viewing parties!
However, this price tag was solely for the time on air, and did not include the money that actually goes into creating the commercial itself.
Snickers, Clash of Clans, Kia, T-Mobile and Esurance were just five of the 15 brands to feature high profile celebrities in their TV ads. We took a look at the 15 brand spots which utilized celebrity endorsements. Were they successful in their endeavors? We leave you to be the judge.
The Celebrity Ad Component Cost
With celebrity endorsements for ads ranging anywhere between $750,000 - $5 Million + and production of the average commercial costing anywhere from $500,000 to $1 Million + some brands can be assumed to have spent up to $10 Million on their Super Bowl commercials for the 2015 game.
Tech and Telecom Celebrity Endorsement Ads
Wix deserves a pat on the back for their Super Bowl commercial. They thought outside of the box, using everything they already have to create an innovative ad campaign that has life beyond the Super Bowl 30 second ad spot. The campaign featured NFL greats Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Emmitt Smith, Larry Allen and Franco Harris.
Each of the legendary NFL players created their own website for their new business where you can interact with the players, win prizes and buy some fun products online from their sites.
Wix also created this hub website for the entire campaign.
Squarespace had a similar idea to Wix for their Super Bowl commercial – taking the celebrity creating their own website angle. Squarespace chose to tell the fictional (or at least we hope it’s fictional) story of how Jeff Bridges has started his own business, ‘Dreaming with Jeff’. Like Wix, Squarespace launched the website to run alongside with the ad campaign and demonstrate the product’s services.
Automotive Celebrity Endorsement Ads
Kia’s ad featuring Pierce Brosnan was another star parody, but this time around the celebrity poked fun at his previous spy caper and James Bond-esque roles. The spots key takeaway was to show that a Kia could be just as much fun as a luxury sport car in an action setting, but remain completely practical. Again, the ad was received positively by audiences, and reportedly generated a 68 percent jump in search queries for the brand.
Brosnan’s old friends at BMW didn’t fail to impress with their ad for the new I3. Groundbreaking albeit futuristic products can sometimes fail at the mercy of consumer speculation and a tendency to stick with what they know best. BMW cleverly decided to highlight this, by taking us back to 1994, to an interview with journalists/technophobes Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel, who struggle to explain to viewers how to use the new Internet technology, and their speculation over whether or not this was a service that could be integrated into everyday life. BMW had the journalists parody that same footage in a similar discussion, (set in modern day) about the BMW ‘futuristic’ I3. With the idea that big ideas take a while to get used to, BMW has created the tag #HelloFuture in hopes to open the minds of many consumers who may be speculative of the new (fangled) electric car. Additionally, BMW saw a 0.50% increase in their Instagram following after the airing of their Super Bowl commercial.
Toyota chose to avoid the comedic style ad, and set their focus on empowering their audience. The spot featured Amy Purdy, an American actress, model and athlete, and a narrative style sound bite from none other than Muhammad Ali. The spot titled ‘How Great I Am’ certainly is emotionally motivating but may have a disconnect between physical activity and purchasing a new Toyota.
Video Game Celebrity Endorsement Ads
Clash of Clans
Liam Neeson parodied his Taken character, Bryan Mills in the Clash of Clans ad. After losing the online game, Neeson performed as Mills delivering a dialogue similar to that of the scenes shown in the Taken films while in a coffee house. This isn’t the first time Neeson has taken this approach to endorse a product or service. In the lead up to Taken 3’s release, Neeson performed a parody of his self in a similar way for a LinkedIn digital commercial.
Game of War
In what is perhaps an arguably odd paring, Game of War chose to partner with Kate Upton for their Super Bowl spot. Upton certainly grabbed the attention of the game’s primary target, the male audience.
Professional Service Industry Celebrity Endorsement Ads
Esurance chose the Super Bowl as their opportunity to promote tailor made insurance for their customers. The idea that one person CANNOT be categorized to fit a general criterion of person paved the way for the theme of Esurance’s commercials. In the spot, Esurance allowed Breaking Bad fans to momentarily see Walter White risen back from the grave! Bryan Cranston, dressed in full Walter White attire, made reference to his character’s ‘profession’ in the show, selling and advising a customer as a ‘pharmacist’ in a drugstore and acting as the store’s substitute ‘almost’ pharmacist.
Esurance didn’t stop at Bryan Cranston. Lindsay Lohan also made an appearance in a second ad as a 25 – 35 year-old who regularly does “a lot of miles” while attempting to pick up a child from school whose real mom fits the same criteria. Lohan was the star of Esurance’s digital content, with a special interview featureabout her role in the ad.
Similarly, (and thankfully as their other commercial was a tear jerker bomb) Nationwide Insurance took a humorous approach with their Invisible Mindy Kaling spot. The ad features both Mindy Kaling and Matt Damon in a hilarious spoof that can only be described as being “A day in the life of Mindy Kaling.” The hype for “Invisible Mindy Kaling” was gigantic even before game day, where the teaser had already generated more than 4.5 million views.
Geico debuted their Super Bowl commercial several weeks ahead of the big game, likely leading to the less stellar reviews the commercial received. The spot features not only the licensed song “Push It Real Good” but also each of the three (we are still sometimes surprised to remember there were more than 2) band members Salt-n-Pepa.
Food Related Celebrity Endorsement Ads
Carl’s Jr stayed true to their controversial and risqué winning Super Bowl commercial themes of the past years. Charlotte McKinney was the chosen star featured in the ad promoting organically sourced beef burgers. McKinney helped produce what could arguably be Carl’s Jr’s most racy ad yet – and perhaps an ad that will resonate, pique consumer interest and boost sales of the new burger.
Snickers didn’t venture away from their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign, choosing to center their Super Bowl ad on ‘The Brady Bunch’. Using extremely clever digital tricks to make the past the present, the Snicker’s 30-second Super Bowl spot features Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi as hungry Marsha and Jan. Snickers coupled their ad with digital content that was hosted on social media platforms with the tag lines #WhatsUpWithMarcia, and #EatASnickers.
Avocados From Mexico
Starring Jerry Rice and Doug Floutie, the avocado commercial takes us back four billion years to learn what Avocados From Mexico believe “the first draft ever” might have looked like. There is no doubt to the vast quantity of guacamole that is consumed during the game, and this unique advertiser certainly stood out. Although we do feel for the polar bear.
Eat 24 tailored their commercial to target a youth/millennial demographic. Using Snoop Dogg, and Gilbert Gottfried, and the clever use of the newly coined social term “Hangry”, the commercial demonstrates the ease of using the service to order food and get it delivered to the door.
So What Brand Uses Celebrity Endorsements Best?
Which of these brands do you think best leveraged the dollars paid for a celebrity endorsement? And do you think these were effective celebrity endorsements? We want to know what you think!
Celebrity endorsements are more effective than you may think! And they're not the only tactic you can incorporate in your entertainment marketing mix.
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