BrandDunk

Branding the World of Sports

What is a Super Bowl commercial worth?

Posted by ZA on August 3, 2009

How valuable is a television commercial during the Super Bowl? Apparently a lot less in the current economy.

CBS is reportedly selling spots for the 2010 Super Bowl in the $2-3 million dollar (per spot) range.  That amount is down considerably from the $2.4 million to $3 million per spot that NBC received on the 2009 Super Bowl.  CBS is selling cheaper because they have to given the current economy.  They are also telling potential buyers that they are negotiable on the price, something that NBC was (publicly) inflexible last year until the economy tanked.

Smart move by CBS to get aggressive on working with advertisers to get them involved in the big game.  There are lots of marquee brands that love to get the exposure the Super Bowl audience provides, but many of those have seen their ad budgets slashed.  By working with the potential advertiser to create a program, CBS is going to salvage some deals that might have otherwise walked away.  CBS will probably also benefit from hooking some of these advertisers into packages that include online, radio and other CBS-owned media properties.

I like this move, but if CBS really wanted to make a bold move they would publish the spot schedule with prices.  Imagine if they had a link from their website that showed all of the available commercial inventory during the broadcast.  The link would include all of the spots in order, which each spot having a price tag next to it.  If an advertiser has committed to the spot, then their name would be included (without revealing the price they paid).

I think this would be successful because it would create a buzz around advertisers to lock down the prime spots (which sell at higher prices).  It could also land some new deals from companies who might see a competitor listed and make the bold decision to buy a spot.  Imagine Heineken deciding to buy a spot immediately after (or before) a Budweiser or Miller spot.  Putting the information out there publicly might alienate some brands, but could get other new advertisers to step up to the table.  Because rather than negotiating the deals in backrooms, where favoritism rules the day, it would bring all dealings into the public domain.  Except of course the final agreed upon price should not be disclosed.

I even think CBS could take this strategy one step further by allowing Google & Microsoft (and other large online ad divisions) to each sell spots on their own sites, to earn a commission on the sale.  Maybe a Super Bowl commercial could even be auctioned off by Ebay (with a reserve price, of course).  The buzz alone generated by these moves would help to drive some sales and could even create a new online media property for CBS to sell ads for (i.e.- their web site listing all of the ads for sale on the Super Bowl).

This type of economy is when companies need to be most courageous.  CBS would be taking a big risk, but could also permanently change the way Super Bowl spots (and maybe others) are sold.  The change could have a positive financial impact now and down the road.  And before you remind me of the financial troubles of SpotRunner, I’ll say I think CBS has a few more resources than a 3rd-party site that is selling remnant commercial inventory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: