Marketers Pay Record Prices for US Super Bowl Ads

14 January 2004

Despite growing concerns over the cost of TV airtime, ad slots during this year's US Super Bowl have gone for record prices.

Marketers such as Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble have on average paid $2.25 million (€1.76m; £1.22m) for each 30-second spot during coverage on CBS, a 7% hike on last year.

Sales of Super Bowl airtime were initially rapid, but began to slow a few weeks ago. According to media buyers, eight of the 54 in-game slots are still available.

Prices for the remaining ads are below some of those already paid, with airtime during the game's fourth quarter reportedly going for as little as $1.8m. However, CBS is said to be shifting its own promotions to later in the game in order to entice advertisers with more slots in the most desirable first and second quarters.

The network has been praised for the Super Bowl deals it has put together for marketers this year. It has been able to offer packages including ad slots on other broadcast and outdoor properties owned by parent Viacom.

The rush to buy airtime during the game comes in spite of recent complaints about the cost and effectiveness of broadcast television as an advertising outlet. Such concerns have been exacerbated by the recent plunge in young male audiences for the major networks.

However, Ray Warren, managing director of OMD, argues that the event is a unique opportunity for marketers. "The Super Bowl is bigger than television," he explained. "The game is a national holiday. It's the only place to put 100 million people in front of a commercial."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff