Even in this tough economic climate in 2009, a $3-million dollar, 30-second spot, was money well spent.
The price for a Super Bowl commercial has fallen for just the second time in history, but making a prime time pitch during the big game is far from cheap.
Booking a 30-second ad during next month's game on CBS costs between $2.5 million and $2.8 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence. That's the most expensive commercial out there, but the price is down from last year, when advertisers paid NBC about $3 million for a half-minute spot. In all, NBC raked in $213 million in ad revenue last year.
The Feb. 7 game is expected to draw in excess of 100 million viewers, and companies typically unveil their most groundbreaking commercials for it.
“As an advertising event, the Super Bowl has evolved beyond a vehicle for presenting expensive, stand-alone commercial spots that seek to entertain viewers and generate awareness,” said TNS Senior Vice President for Research Jon Swallen.
Among the more famous ads to premiere during the Super Bowl are the Wendy's "Where's the Beef" commercial from 1984, and the 1980 ad featuring Pittsburgh Steelers great "Mean" Joe Greene tossing his game jersey to a little fan who had offered him a Coke.
Last year, a Pepsi ad featuring "Saturday Night Live" character McGruber drew water cooler laughs as did an ad in which a man exchanges a Corona for a Bud Light and magically experiences summer wherever he goes.
Some big players are staying on the sidelines this year, including Pepsi, which has bought Super Bowl ads for the last 22 years, according to The Associated Press. General Motors, another usual advertiser, is also not buying commercial time.
One company expected to make a splash with a commercial this year is HomeAway, a vacation rentals website. The company paid for the rights to "National lampoon's Vacation," and will reprise Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as the Griswolds.
Anheuser-Busch typically buys four minutes or more worth of spots, but has not said whether it is playing ball this year. Companies that have bought include Audi, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Doritos, GoDaddy and Honda, according to Advertising Age. Taxpayers bought one too: The U.S. Census Bureau will run a 30-second spot in the third quarter.
In the last 20 years, Anheuser-Busch has spent more than $300 million on Super Bowl commercials, Pepsi $254 million and GM just over $80 million, according to TNS. Two decades ago when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 55-10 to win Super Bowl XXIV, a 30-second spot cost $700,000.