Super Bowl LV
Source: Getty Images

Super Bowl Ads Cost Less in 2021, So Why Are Advertisers Skipping the Game?

Dan Clarendon - Author

Feb. 6 2021, Updated 9:30 a.m. ET

Although Super Bowl ad costs have been rising for more than a half-century now, the ad costs for Super Bowl LV are slightly lower than the prices in 2020.  

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Many advertisers are skipping this year’s Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ahead of the big game on Feb. 7, here’s what to know about Super Bowl LV commercials this year.

super bowl lv ads
Source: NFL Facebook
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30-second ads during Super Bowl LV cost around $5.5 million.

Advertisers have to shell out $5.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime during Super Bowl LV ad breaks, according to Deadline. That’s slightly down from last year’s ad cost, which was $5.6 million for a 30-second spot, as Business Insider reported at the time.

Super Bowl ad costs have increased almost every year since 1967, when the price of a 30-second ad was $42,500, according to Yahoo! Finance. Even with inflation, the 1967 Super Bowl ad price would be a bargain to current advertisers. For example, $42,500 is worth about $336,500 in buying power in 2021.

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CBS has sold all of its Super Bowl ad inventory.

cbs logo
Source: Getty Images

ViacomCBS confirmed that it has “virtually sold out” its Super Bowl LV ad slots, according to Deadline. But CBS’s ad sales in 2021 are trailing Fox’s ad sales last year in this metric as well.

Not only did Fox command a slightly higher price per ad last year, but the network also sold out of its ad inventory faster. Fox sold the last of its Super Bowl LIV inventory in November 2019, which was more than two months before the game, according to Variety

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It was the first time in five years that a network sold all of its Super Bowl ads early. Of course, ads during NFL games were a hotter-than-usual commodity at the time. The league and Fox eliminated one commercial break per quarter that season. 

Many advertisers are skipping this year’s big game.

Recently, Entrepreneur listed 10 big brands that have chosen not to run air ads during Super Bowl LV including Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and Ford.

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“With Super Bowl parties either scaled way down or just canceled, it probably makes sense to sit this one out at this cost,” Brian Sheehan, a professor of advertising at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, told Variety.

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Budweiser, which has advertised during the Super Bowl for 37 years now, is taking the money it would have spent on a Super Bowl LV ad and donating it to the Ad Council for coronavirus vaccine PSAs, according to Variety.

Coca-Cola has chosen not to air a Super Bowl ad for the first time in 15 years. “This difficult choice to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times,” Coca-Cola said in a statement.

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In a statement, Hyundai said that it opted against a Super Bowl LV commercial “based on marketing priorities, the timing of upcoming vehicle launches, and where we felt it was best to allocate our marketing resources.”

Other brands that aren't running Super Bowl LV ads include Facebook, Ford, Little Caesar’s, and Pepsi, as reported by Entrepreneur. However, Pepsi is getting a shout-out in the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.


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