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Ad-ception: How Super Bowl Ads Spend to Advertise Their Advertisements

Advertisers love the Super Bowl, states Laura Northrup of The Consumerist, as it is one of the few times that huge numbers of people sit and watch the same thing in real time, while paying attention to the commercials. Some marketers want to increase the impact of their ads even more, by spending over $1 million promoting their Super Bowl commercials. They’re shelling out to advertise their ads.

The New York Times introduced us to this phenomenon, learning from a sports and entertainment marketing executive that she tells clients planning a Super Bowl commercial that they should plan to spend another 25% over the cost of running the ad on promoting the spot.

This year, commercials during the Super Bowl cost up to $5 million, which means that the marketing budget would be as high as $1.25 million.

That doesn’t mean that the companies are running commercials on TV: marketing campaigns include pitches to print and online news outlets and TV commercials. When you see a news item about an upcoming Super Bowl ad, the advertiser probably didn’t pay to for that story, but did pay someone to bring that story around to news outlets. That’s called “earned media,” or publicity that a brand gets based on just being interesting.

Marketers even disagree on whether it’s better to keep an ad out of the public eye until the game, or to release it early to build up extra buzz. The director of marketing for Buick told the Times that Buick is releasing its ad early this year and using social media, including Instagram’s newly-monetized stories feature, to promote its spot before the game. Releasing the ad early “gives us a longer time span to engage consumers, and I believe it’s a better return on our investment,” she explained.

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