The Super Ad: How Super Bowl Ads Have Changed in the Last 50 Years

On Sunday, people across the nation will tune in to watch the coolest new ads hit the small screen – plus, there’s football during the breaks!

The Super Bowl is the most watched television event in America with an average of 114 million viewers, ranging across all ages and including both men and women (women account for at least 40%). The show also has an extremely low tuneaway rate, with a mere 0.7% of people who don’t watch the commercials vs. the usual 3 to 4%.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to advertising, the Super Bowl has become a super big deal. Here’s how things have changed over the last 50 years:

The Cost

If you’re looking to snag 30 seconds of Super Bowl time, it’s going to cost you. This year, 30-second spots are estimated at a little over $5 million, a far cry from the $37,500 price tag during Super Bowl I. In the past five seasons alone, the cost has increased an average of 11% each year, with the Super Bowl ultimately pulling in $5.9 billion in ad spending since 1967 (adjusted for inflation).

Want to know the most expensive Super Bowl spot to date?  Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? Chrysler’s 2011 “Imported from Detroit” ad starring Eminem takes the crown, costing $12.4 million.

The Reach

These days, 30 seconds goes a long way. With a little help from Facebook and Twitter (not to mention countless blogs and TV recaps), brands can make a moment last for months. During last year’s game, there were 265 million Super Bowl posts, likes, and comments on Facebook and 2.8 million tweets from kick-off to a half hour post-show.

2015’s most popular hashtags via adweek

Campaigns are also starting to build momentum earlier with teasers–and even full ads–released weeks in advance. Not to mention all this pre-gaming is supported by additional advertising, particularly digital.

The Ideas

Ever since Apple hired Ridley Scott to direct this unforgettable ad in 1984, the Super Bowl has been the place to bring your A-game, and today, concepts are bigger than ever. And we don’t just mean celebrities star in them (which they do) or they are a little controversial (which they sometimes are). Ads today are engaging consumers in totally new, interactive ways.

For example, Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest offers fans a chance to submit their own spot and win. Or in 2012, you could watch the game live with the Coca-Cola Polar Bears.

Photo via Branding Magazine

But don’t worry; you don’t have to win the Powerball to keep up with these ads. No matter what your budget, you can bring the energy of a Super Bowl campaign into everyday advertising by simply listening to your audience, finding a way to include them, and, of course, thinking big.