With the Super Bowl being on Fox this year, a record is looming… As of November 15, 2019, reportedly 80% of all 30 second inventory had been purchased. Strategy? Possibly. Advertisers willing to purchase two spots catch a little break. $5.5 million a pop. If you only want exposure in one ad, it will cost you $5.5 million. With 60 of the 77 available in game spots left on the table, Fox reported that 25 advertisers were vying for those last 17 spots. Will they reach $6 million each before all is said and done? Start the drum roll…
A short two weeks later, Fox reported that the advertising inventory for the 2020 Super Bowl sold out for the first time in five years. So what changed?
Why are rate records being set this year, and selling out faster? CBS came in at $5.1 last year. I speculate that if you’ve watched an NFL game on Fox this year you noticed something different. Or perhaps you didn’t? Shame on you, you weren’t actually watching. The “Commercial Break” isn’t a true break anymore. The split-screen model has given Fox the edge on leveraging cutting the amount of “Actual” :30 break inventory. Thus making the case that advertisers are achieving more exposure and actual eyeballs by continuing to show in game activity. (This, while actually offering less inventory enabling them to charge more per spot). Now, this box is smaller than the advertiser’s ad, but in theory, all in all, it keeps you watching.
I perceive this strategy to be on the coattails of how Fox introduced the “JAZ Pod” (first spot logged out of commercial break as “A” and last spot into programming “Z”). Much of your favorite prime time programming saw this shift. With the continued advent of the DVR (both traditional and OTT), it was deemed that a shorter commercial break would keep people watching vs. fast forwarding. Short one minute breaks vs. three minute breaks was the theory and from what I can tell, it worked.
So. Who’s paying for this inventory? Many of the usual suspects, mostly auto, and a few surprises along the way. Anheuser-Bush, Audi, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Porsche are among those we are familiar with. On the flip side, Facebook is coming in with a :60 spot for their first time. Sabra has also thrown their hat in for a :30 spot for their first Super Bowl appearance. As always, it’s guaranteed to be an interesting showing for anyone who decides that this kind of bank roll will indeed move the needle for their brand. And with the 10-year anniversary of the Snickers tagline “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry,” we’ll see their creative efforts return after benching themselves for the past two SuperBowls.
Blog post written by Cristin Combs.