Beer, Betting, and Streaming, Oh My! A Super Bowl Advertising Analysis
Super Bowl ads, while a relatively small sample, are a decent indicator of trends in overall advertising demand. In a review of the last three years, the trends are clear: a few categories like Crypto and Covid-related PSAs are waning, largely being replaced by new categories like Sports Betting and Streaming, and there is more competition in established categories like QSR and Beer.
What’s Out: Crypto & COVID
Since 2021, ads pertaining to COVID-19 have steadily dropped, with no COVID-19 related ads appearing on Sunday night. In 2021, we tracked ads pertaining to COVID-19 from five advertisers. These ads mostly advertised how their businesses are still operating in the midst of the pandemic. For example, this Alaska Airlines ad describes the safety procedures on their flights, this ad for a local market casino highlights their air filtration and features customers and staff in masks. In 2022, ads pertaining to COVID shifted their theme to promoting vaccines. The Michigan Department of Health bought two airings and Oregon’s Department of Health bought three airings about COVID prevention and vaccines.
After stealing the show during the 2022 Super Bowl, cryptocurrency companies went silent during this years’ broadcast. Coinbase’s floating QR code ad was one of the biggest ads of last year and resulted in their website crashing. The four companies—FTX, Coinbase, Crypto.com, and eToro—that aired ads last year were not seen during the 2023 Super Bowl. However, they still have a quiet presence on normal broadcast times, like this ad from eToro about the social features on their crypto trading app. Compared to their 2022 Super Bowl ad, it is a lot lower quality. FTX, one of the other big crypto companies, filed for bankruptcy and is involved in a fraud scandal.
What’s In: Betting & Streaming
Sports betting ads have grown exponentially in their Super Bowl presence, in line with how it has swept through the market over the last few years. While many Super Bowl ads are national and are seen on every screen in the country, the sports betting companies aim to be specific in where they air advertisements due to state-specific restrictions. But, as sports betting becomes legal in more places, the ads have significantly increased.
FanDuel hosted one of the more popular ads of 2023, dubbed the “Kick of Destiny” with Rob Gronkowski where fans could also bet on the outcome. Fox aired ads about their Fox Bet App, which aired in 192 markets, including somewhere sports betting is not yet legal. The other betting companies who aired ads in 2023 – BetMGM, DraftKings, & Fanduel – also made their ads national, so they appear to have lower airings numbers than Fox Bet App but are reaching a similarly sized audience.
Throughout the past three Super Bowls, advertisers have set out to make their claim in the rapidly growing and competitive market of streaming platforms. From 2021 to 2022, the total number of unique airings advertising streaming platforms increased. In 2021, there was a total of 13 unique airings about streaming platforms, in 2022 there was 22. In 2023, we saw fewer streaming platforms air ads, but the ads were still notable. Tubi made their Super Bowl premier in a much talked about ad that made it seem as if your T.V. was switching apps to the Tubi app as well as an about viewers being thrown down a rabbit hole of T.V. shows.
A common trend between each Super Bowl is that the host network will advertise their streaming platform more than others. When CBS hosted the Super Bowl in 2021, Paramount+ had 9 unique airings, including this one featuring popular CBS network characters on “Paramount Mountain”. When NBC hosted in 2022, Peacock had 12 unique airings, one of which being this ad highlighting Peacock’s new shows for 2022. While Fox did not have their own streaming platform launched yet, they more heavily advertised their new network shows, such as Animal Control and Next Level Chef, as well as their broadcast of the Daytona 500. FOX Nation, their streaming platform was also featured during the big game with 3 different ad airings. The variety of streaming platform advertisers in 2022’s Super Bowl highlight the development of a more packed streaming market. We tracked unique airings from nine different streaming platform advertisers in 2022, and in 2023 that number was five. There were ads from Fox Nation, Netflix, Tubi, Peacock, and Paramount Plus.
Endemic: QSR & Beer
Fast food companies have a unique split in their advertising. McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut have all consistently aired ads in the Super Bowl. By filtering out the nationally aired Super Bowl ads, the regional divide of locally aired Super Bowl commercials becomes apparent. Bojangles, Jack In The Box, and Whataburger all have previously advertised in their local markets during the game. One of the big themes in advertising during NFL games this year was the Burger King advertising campaign. Their “Whopper” jingle was played across the nation all season, but they made it clear with their Super Bowl-themed jingle that the impact had already been made. Burger King did not air an ad during the Super Bowl. In fact, McDonalds was the only fast food advertiser to make an appearance, however, their ad with Cardi B aired before kick-off when viewership was down.
A new development in Super Bowl advertising this year was the result of Anheuser-Busch and the NFL ending their exclusivity deal on the advertising of beer during the Super Bowl. Because of this, the other night we saw non-Anheuser-Busch beer ads aired nationally for the first time since 1989. This time, there were ads from Coors Light, Miller Light, Samuel Adams, Blue Moon, and an alcohol-free Heineken. However, despite their exclusive deal ending, Anheuser Busch brands of beer still advertised plenty including ads for Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Busch Light, and Budweiser, but without the classic Clydesdale horses and Labrador puppies.
[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from AdImpact. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]
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