Super Bowl XXXIV in January 2000 was called the “Dot Com Super Bowl” with over 14 ads from web companies like LastMinuteTravel.com, Pets.com, Computer.com and Epidemic.com. Overall, representing 20% of the available ad space, going for $2.2 million for :30 seconds.
This year, CBS is charging more than 2X for :30 seconds, going at $5 million a spot. This is 11% higher than the 2015 Super Bowl which was the most watched broadcast in the history of the U.S. with 114 million viewers (go, Pats!).
As the 2016 advertisers are revealed, there seems to be a growing number of dot coms and tech companies announcing their ads, and already launching “pre-game” activation campaigns with contests, pr and social media behind them. I count 11 so far including Wix, SquareSpace, SoFi, QuickenLoans, WeatherTech, TurboTax, Intuit, PayPal, and Amazon (not sure which product they’ll support). While notably brands like GoDaddy have decided to step out, and we’ve missed the eTrade baby for years. With some of these brands running :60 second spots (in combined national and regional buys) the net percentage of ad dollars could reach similar levels as 2000.
The good news for these advertisers is that the data and technology to help track the impact of these campaigns is far superior to what was available in 2000 – including the ability to leverage digital and social media to amplify the impact before and after the game. Dare I say making the Super Bowl more of a “performance” oriented buy.
I don’t have a team I’m rooting for this year, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing which dot com can figure out a way to maximize their $5 million. As for the fate of the dot coms from 2000 – 6 are still active, 5 were bought by other companies. None are running ads this year.
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