Cost of Super Bowl XLVIII commercials: The game behind the big game

Cost of Super Bowl XLVIII commercials are running approximately $4 million for a 30-second spot. However, it’s not as cut-and-dry as plunking down a whole bunch of coin and green-lighting an ad. There is a whole game behind the big game.

In an article published on Friday, The Washington Post chronicled all the doings that go into selecting an ad. The Post called them “rules,” and here is a brief synopsis of each.

$4 million isn’t 4 million isn’t $4 million

The basic gist is that not everyone pays $4 million for their ad. Rates vary depending on the amount of ads a sponsor has. So Coca-Cola or Ford will pay much less, per commercial, than a once-off brand like SodaStream (the example used by the Post).

Even the big boys buy bundles

Companies purchasing spots for the Super Bowl are expected to package them with other sporting events. For example, last year CBS tied its Final Four coverage to the Super Bowl. This year the Post reports that FOX is tying rights to its upstart 24-hour sports program FOX Sports-1.

It’s all a gamble part 1

Early purchases are usually cheaper. However, if some major groups choose to sit out for a game, inexpensive ad space can be found closer to the Super Bowl.

It’s all a gamble part 2

Many companies hedge by having commercials early in the game. If the Super Bowl is a blowout, people will check out by the second half. However, in the event that a game is close, more eyes will tune end for an exciting finish.

Not all commercial slots are created equal

The first and last commercials in a cluster are the prime spots. They capture people’s attention before getting off the couch, or just before the game comes back on. Ads in the middle slots do not get seen by as many eyes.

Pre-game hype

Commercials now have teaser trailers like movies. Companies pump viewers up by giving a sneak peek and building anticipation. Then, after the game, they invest social media resources to monitor fan responses.