Pricey Super Bowl rates leave some advertisers cold

Fox is reported to be charging $4 million for 30 seconds, and big brands such as Subway are opting out.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 6, 2013 4:18PM
File photo of Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (© Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)By Richard Feloni, Business Insider

Super Bowl ad prices have been rising tremendously in the past five years, and in 2014, Fox is reported to be charging $4 million per 30 seconds.

Combined with the return of the 17-day-long Winter Olympics, an event absent since 2010, some big brands like Subway are choosing to opt out of the biggest night in TV.

"You can make an argument that the total cumulative audience across the Winter Olympics is actually bigger than what you are going to get in the Super Bowl," Subway chief marketing officer Tony Pace told Ad Age.

Nielsen reported that 108.4 million people watched the Super Bowl last year, with 90 percent of the audience in the United States. The 2010 Winter Olympics drew an average of 24.4 million primetime viewers, and had 190 million people watch some of the games on one of NBC Universal's networks, according to NBC.

Real estate agency Century 21, which advertised in the past two big games, told Ad Age that it would rather make an investment in an international audience.

And is skipping the upcoming Super Bowl after six consecutive years in it because it doesn't have a new campaign to justify the price tag. "When we launched a new campaign every year through the Super Bowl, you really had to wait until the Super Bowl to start advertising," CMO Linda Bartman said. It instead wants to distribute its ads throughout the year.

This isn't necessarily part of a bigger trend, or even the start of new habits for these brands.

General Motors' (GM) former head of marketing Joel Ewanick proclaimed last year that the $3.8 million Super Bowl ad price was an unjustifiable expense, but now that he's gone, GM is back in the game.

With 85 percent of Fox's Super Bowl ads sold by the end of August, the rising price of admission wasn't much of a hindrance to most brands, especially those with big, new campaigns. Anheuser-Busch In-Bev (BUD) has launched two beers in a row the past two Super Bowls, and this year Nestle (NSRGY) has announced it will be launching a Butterfinger peanut butter cup. SodaStream (SODA) is also preparing its first official television campaign to compete with PepsiCo (PEP) and Coca-Cola (KO).

Super Bowl XLVII will be played at MetLife Stadium (pictured) on Feb. 2, and the Winter Olympics will begin the following Friday. 

More from Business Insider

Nov 6, 2013 6:36PM
The Super Bowl is, including the NFL, is out of control..... I hate to break the news to them, and I love football, but in the grand scheme of life, their existence in the world doesn't matter in the least.......sorry, reality check here.
Nov 6, 2013 7:33PM
The NFL just isn't cool anymore. I mean if you want to win just ante up more millions but so what. I'm so glad I don't have to see my taxes go to a bunch of loud mouth drunks in an over priced stadium.
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