Before you lay money down on what will be the most popular commercial of Super Bowl XLI, here is a look back at all the Super Bowl advertising that went on before.
According to TNS Media Intelligence, Super Bowl advertising totaled 682 minutes — that’s more than 11 hours of commercial time — over the past 20 years.
During those 11 hours, 221 different advertisers bought more than 1,400 spots and spent $1.72 billion in network advertising sales.
Over the last 20 years, the top five Super Bowl advertisers alone have spent $613.4 million on advertising, accounting for 35% of the total advertising dollars spent in the game.
Anheuser Busch and PepsiCo, advertisers in every Super Bowl game since 1987, top the list, followed by General Motors, Time Warner and Walt Disney, which has only been advertising during the Super Bowl for seven years.
Disney’s rise highlights an important fact: The cost of an advertisement in the Super Bowl has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years, reaching $2.5 million in 2006 for a 30-second unit.
For the 2007 game, CBS is reportedly charging in excess of $2.6 million for each 30-second spot — over $5 million a minute, and that adds up quickly.
The Super Bowl advertising "halo" extends beyond just the actual game ads, however. The Super Bowl is a much larger TV advertising event.
Ad sales in the pre- and post-game coverage, plus ad sales by the network’s local affiliate stations, generated an extra 74 cents for every ad dollar spent during the game in 2006.
Comparing the ad spend of the Super Bowl to the other major ad events — the World Series and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship — is apples-to-oranges, because the World Series is four to seven games and March Madness peaks with the semifinals and championship on its last weekend, a total of three games. The Super Bowl is a single telecast.
Still, the Super Bowl rakes in more network TV ad dollars than either of the other multi-game events.