In 1992, the average cost per 30 seconds for a Super Bowl ad was $850,000, and now that number has more than quadrupled. With an average increase of $100,000 per year, the NFL has stated that 2012’s average cost per 30 seconds of airtime for America’s largest annual sporting event is $3.5 million.
As Chrysler took the title of the most expensive Super Bowl commercial to air in the history of the event last year with its two-minute spot, audiences everywhere are left to wonder if any brand will ever supersede the car company’s “Imported From Detroit” ad. While some brands have been said to spend $4 million for a half-minute spot this year, only time will tell.
As the New York Giants win of Super Bowl XLVI concluded just hours ago, and fans going crazy over a new crop of memorable spots from Doritos, Chevy, and Pepsi commercials, BlackEnterprise.com takes a look at the most expensive ads to air over the past decade during February’s main event. —Amber McKynzie
Reigning at an all-time high with an average $3.1 million per 30 seconds, Chrysler’s two-minute and three-second commercial, “Imported From Detroit,” for Super Bowl XLV rings in as the most expensive mini movie to air during football’s annual championship game. Featuring Detroit native Eminem, the spot helped promote support of the domestic auto industry.
Always known for their annual elaborate and memorable commercials, Budweiser put together this 60-second portrayal of a town’s determination to save the local bridge for their Budweiser delivery at the small price of $2.9 million per 30 seconds.
Audi decided to reenact the evolution of a classic car chase to promote their 2009 four-door sports car during the XLIII Super Bowl, featuring action star Jason Statham. With an approximate $2.8 million spent per 30 seconds, the carmaker almost came in as the second most expensive commercial to hit the air in 2009. Britney Spears’ Pepsi spot with Bob Dole was banned due to sporadic, overly sexual content. The airtime of Britney’s commercial was equivalent to an estimated $8.4 million, but after its ban Audi took the cake for the year’s most expensive Super Bowl spot.
With inflation underway, Coca-Cola spent $2.7 million per 30 seconds to create the ultimate cartoon rivalry. As part of a Macy’s parade, an inflatable version of Family Guy’s Stewie battled ’90s cartoon superhero, Underdog, for a runaway bottle of Coke. Through the use of computer graphics the classic beverage found a new and innovative way to bring family together over a game of football.
Before the economy took another recessional hit, GM paid a whopping $2.6 million per half minute for their technologically savvy robot commercial showing the way of the future. The spot portrayed a robot who loses its job at a GM plant for dropping a screw on the assembly line and then searches for a new job before realizing it was all a dream.
To promote ESPN’s mobile capabilities, the brand paid well into the seven-figure range, at the rate of $2.4 million per 30 seconds, to show off their unlimited and un-stationary sports access. With baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and more underway, ESPN had this bill covered.
Highlighting power, speed, and pure agility, Cadillac spent $2.3 million per 30 seconds to endorse three of their V-series vehicles. Touting their vehicles’ ability to go from 0–60 MPH in under five seconds, Cadillac agrees it was money well spent.
Creating the slogan, “Eat Fresh,” as a household mainstay nationwide, Subway recruited actor Christian Seaborn to sell their “make-up-for-eating-bad-not-being-bad” campaign. At the cost of $2.2 million for each half minute of airtime, it’s thought that the sandwich maker helped many learn the difference.
Seven years before Britney Spears’ XLIII Super Bowl ad for Pepsi was banned, the refreshing beverage recruited the pop star to promote their thirst-quenching product during Super Bowl XXXVI at a rate of $1.9 million per half minute. Taking fans through time from the late ’50s to the beginning of the 21st century, Spears showed why Pepsi is forever young.
At the turn of the century, EDS spent $2.1 million per 30 seconds to highlight the digital takeover. Showing the way of the future through fast technology, EDS became well known for their XXXV Super Bowl spot “Running of the Squirrels.”
Approximate Total Cost: $4.2 million.
At the cost of $1.9 million per 30 seconds, Mountain Dew enlisted a male quartet for their “Bohemian Rhaspody” Super Bowl commercial. Merging soprano, alto, and baritone voices to deliver a mellifluous harmony about the lime-green beverage’s refreshing taste, Mountain Dew created a classic football pictorial that is still remembered today.