While most of the discussion leading up to the Super Bowl focuses on the matchup between the two teams, much of the attention during and after the game will be about the commercials. While the cost of a 30 second spot will be between $2.8-3 million dollars this year, the game averages over 100 million viewers. That is a lot of eyeballs watching a spot about your new soda or movie, especially since viewers will not be DVR/TiVoing past the commercials. Would such high exposure be beneficial for political campaigns as well?
While placing an ad in the Super Bowl would break the budget for most political campaigns, it would be an efficient avenue for both national and local campaigns. Even though the Super Bowl is the most watched program of the year and is seven times the rating of an average Sunday night show nationwide, at $3 million a spot, it is a hundred times more expensive. While the earned media attention about the commercial would be a great kick off for a national campaign for president, the importance of the primaries of Iowa and New Hampshire would render the national attention ineffective.
However, on a local level, placing a political ad in the Super Bowl would be more efficient, especially in the cities vying for the title. In battleground primaries cities such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a presidential candidate can introduce themselves to half the viewing public for the same efficiency as a spot in “Dateline”, “CSI”, or “NCIS”. Meanwhile a candidate running for a statewide office in Pennsylvania this year could spend $75k in Pittsburgh, reaching 88% of the audience for the same cost per viewer as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “60 Minutes”. The following chart reflects this efficiency in the Steel City.
Regardless of the outcome of the game, with the earned media potential and added focus on the commercials, advertising in the Super Bowl might be a winning idea for a politician.