Making Sense of Super Bowl Commercials

Feb 3, 2014

The Super Bowl has become more than just a football game. It's now America's annual media orgy. 


After the big game, people are talking as much about the commercials as they are the score.

Why? Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's "Sense-Making Project" said it's because commercials in the big game have become a product unto themselves.

"The ads there are unlike any other advertising because it creates this social media buzz, "McBride explained. "It did so long before there was social media. People always talked about Super Bowl ads and eventually the phenomenon created this reality that we experience today where advertising agencies spend almost all of their creative effort on these types of ads."

McBride said that Super Bowl ads are definitely different from ads you see throughout the rest of the year.

"They generally have a story to them. We see a lot of recurring characters. And it really tells us a lot about how our media environment is changing when we look at the power of Super Bowl ads today," she said.

A Super Bowl ad this year costs four million dollars for a 30 second commercial.  But, McBride said, that's actually a pretty good deal.

"You could argue that this is a bargain," claimed McBride. "More than 100 million people will be watching this and you can't get that kind of audience anywhere. So a lot of people argue that those are actually under priced, that they could charge more. "