The Super Bowl’s kicking off in just over 48 hours, and while some of the ads that appear during the game will be a surprise to viewers, plenty have already been receiving buzz via TV and the web. Utilizing data from always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, we’re sharing some of the most interesting insights on Super Bowl brands and ad creative below.
A version of this piece originally appeared on the iSpot blog. Additionally, if you want to learn more about NFL advertisers from the 2019 season, check out recent reports around regular season ad performance and business outcomes.
Porsche Zooms Into the Super Bowl for the First Time in Over 20 Years
Auto ads are pretty commonplace during NFL broadcasts — automakers were the No. 1 industry for spend during the regular season with an estimated outlay of over $606 million — but this year’s Super Bowl features a newer brand, at least in terms of “the Big Game.” For the first time in over two decades, Porsche will air a Super Bowl spot; this one promoting its electric sports car, the Taycan.
Notaly, the brand has only spent $11.6 million on TV ads overall since Jan. 1, 2018, and the largest share of that has gone to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (NFL football came in second). Since 30-second spots cost up to $5.6 million during this year Super Bowl, it’s basically half of what Porsche has spent on TV overall in over two years. The brand’s “super” spot will be 60 seconds, meaning on Sunday they could be investing in one spot what they spent on TV in the last two years.
SodaStream Bubbles Back up to Super Bowl
SodaStream’s parent company, PepsiCo, is plenty familiar with football and the Super Bowl from years of ads, and though SodaStream rarely airs spots during NFL games, they did appear during the 2014 Super Bowl. More recently, the brand spent just $135,000 advertising against college football in 2018, and its largest sports spend since the start of 2018 has been on figure skating ($600,000). Dating back to Jan. 1, 2017, SodaStream has spent $30.4 million on TV ads, with most of that going to reality TV (18.2%), drama and action shows (17.4%) and movies (13.3%).
Below is a spend breakdown for SodaStream against all sports shows since the start of 2018 (through Jan. 28, 2020).
Rick and Morty’s Interdimensional Travels Land in a Pringles Spot
Despite Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty being a late-night cartoon laden with meta humor and obscure references, the show is also no stranger to high-profile crossovers. They’ve already “crashed” events like last year’s Emmys, and you can add Super Bowl LIV to the list too. This year, Pringles utilizes the show’s typical manic energy to get you paying attention to the spot, which focuses on stacking chip flavors.
The ad’s not without a real-world tie-in, as Pringles introduced “Pickle Rick”-flavored chips. Pringles has also spent over $100,000 advertising against Rick and Morty episodes since Sept. 1, 2019, and Adult Swim is fourth ($2.7 million) among all networks for the company’s ad spend since the start of 2019. With a focus on capturing younger audiences (its core consumer), Pringles’ spend on Adult Swim certainly makes sense.
Secret Kicks Inequality at the Super Bowl
Secret women’s deodorant is tackling women’s inequality in sports with “Secret Kicker” at this year’s Super Bowl. It’s not the first time the brand has looked at inequality in a TV ad, but the Super Bowl spot is a hint at how Secret sees sports as a way to deliver messages around change. Though Secret has put less than 4% of its TV ad spend toward sports since the start of 2018, football has been a particular emphasis. The chart below shows a breakdown of Secret’s spend on sports programming. NFL Football is the top show (any genre) for Secret by TV ad spend over the last two years, at nearly $2.9 million.
Turkish Airlines Rarely Lands on TV
Turkish Airlines released a teaser for Super Bowl LIV with astronauts in the desert — not the first “big game” ad for Turkish Airlines, but the company also hasn’t done much on TV since its Ridley Scott ad, “The Journey,” during last year’s Super Bowl. Below, we’ve included the brand’s spending per show going back to 2019. Perhaps surprisingly, nearly all of its $10.4 million TV ad spend in the timeframe has been on sports as well.
Little Caesars Revisiting Sports Ads
Pizza brand Little Caesars has spent quite a bit on TV advertising since the start of 2019 — over $226 million through Jan. 23, 2020 — but just $15 million of that was on sports. And only $763,000 was on NFL games.
Dating back to Jan. 1, 2018, Little Caesars has spent a total of $33.5 million advertising against sports programming, against $424.3 million overall. These Super Bowl debut could potentially signal a larger emphasis on sports for the brand. Little Caesars has spent just $1.7 million on ads during NFL games over the past two seasons, but nearly double that on both NBA and college football games, respectively, since Jan. 1, 2018 — a sign of what was perhaps an old strategy for TV ads. The graph below shows Little Caesars’ spend on sports shows since the start of 2018.
Sabra Doesn’t Usually Dip Into Football, Now Shawarming the Field
(sorry not sorry)
Pepsi is making a lot of noise for Sabra leading up to the Super Bowl, with 13 unique creatives in the market for the hummus brand. However, Sabra isn’t typically a TV advertiser (and especially doesn’t advertise during sporting events). From 2019 through Jan. 28, 2020, Sabra only spent an estimated $11.6 million on TV and less than 3% of that spend was on sports-related programming. Dating back to the start of 2018, Sabra’s spent a total of $30.2 million on TV advertising, with just $1.4 million (4.6%) going toward sports programming. Additionally, Sabra has not advertised during an NFL game at any point since at least 2016.
TurboTax Banks on Q1 Sports Programming
TurboTax obviously wants people paying attention before tax season. Nearly 38% of TurboTax’s spend is sports since the start of 2018, and they typically stop spending on TV after the first week of April — and then they don’t return until Jan. 1 of the following year).
A significant portion of TurboTax’s annual ad budget is geared toward Q1 sports, specifically the NFL Playoffs, Super Bowl and NCAA Tournament (arguably the three biggest sporting events in that stretch). They also don’t advertise on linear TV during the NFL regular season at all.
TurboTax’s total TV advertising since the start of 2018 is $370 million, with about 26% of that coming during postseason NFL games (playoffs, Super Bowl). Also, 21% of their total TV ad spend since the start of 2018 is NFL, with another 5.1% against the last two Super Bowls.