Top 5 Most Expensive Super Bowl Adverts Ever

For the vast majority of people in Europe, or anywhere outside North America for that matter, telling them that this Sunday sees the climax of the professional American Football season will mean very little. But even if not a fan, if you were to hear the words ‘Super Bowl’ or ‘the NFL’ there’s a good chance it would spark at least a glimmer of recognition.

Such is the power of marketing. The National Football League (NFL), a governing body of a sport only played professionally in one country, is a brand with global awareness, valued at $25bn (2015). That’s hard to ignore.

Big brands are certainly paying attention, and a lot of money on top of that. For them, advertising during an NFL broadcast is a route to a captive audience, and the audience doesn’t get any bigger than on Super Bowl Sunday. Since 2010, the TV audience each year has been in excess of 100million viewers, with 111million tuning in last year. And you can see why.

Often boldly referred to as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, there is certainly an argument to be made for the Super Bowl. After opening with an impassioned National Anthem (to be sung by Pink this year), accompanied by a spectacular firework display and fighter-jet flyover, organisers up-the-ante by casually transforming the field of play into a full-on concert venue, hosting ‘The Pepsi Halftime Show’! And who is performing? Well, this year it’s some guy called Justin Timberlake, while other ‘hacks’ they’ve thrown on stage to ‘hum a few bars’ at halftime include Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga…. Oh, and that’s just the last 5 years! Keep going back to find Madonna, Sir Paul McCartney, etc. To think that this is all a ‘side show’ to the main event is staggering.

Even the adverts (or “commercials”) during the Super Bowl have become famous; like 30-second TV shows in their own right. This might be the only time an audience actively sits and watches adverts during a broadcast. However, for marketers, this guaranteed audience comes with a big price tag. In 2017 a 30-second ad slot came in at a cool $5.02million. Ouch.

For perspective, setting aside your feelings about professional sports salaries, only 13 of the over 100 players competing in this year’s Super Bowl can afford an advert during it! For even more perspective, adverts during the last FIFA World Cup Final, were closer to $500,000. You have to wonder, are Super Bowl adverts actually worth the money? ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Frito-Lay’ think so, as their Chief Marketing Officers explain:

Of course, there’s no definitive answer. So, rather than attempt to devise one, below we’ve compiled a list of the 5 most expensive Super Bowl adverts in history. See what you think.

Finally, if you don’t happen to have a spare $5mill, but would like a proven, cost-effective way to ensure your brand reaches and engages its target audience, get in touch with Denvir.



#5 – Microsoft “Empowering” ($8million)



#4 – Kia “Matrix” ($8million)



#3 – Jaguar “British Villains Rendezvous” ($8million)



#2 – Bud Light “Up for Whatever” ($12million)



#1 – Chrysler “Imported from Detroit” ($12.4million)