Data shows why the Super Bowl is TV's main event for advertisers

Paul HiebertData Journalist
January 31, 2017, 9:19 PM GMT+0

Half of people say Super Bowl ads enhance a brand's image, while under a third say the TV spots have driven them to buy

A new survey by YouGov reveals why the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of advertising. Apart from its huge audience — a reported 111.9 million viewers watched last year's Super Bowl on TV — 52% of US adults say they get either very or somewhat excited about watching commercials during the big game. This level of excitement is significantly higher than what consumers show for other major TV events, such as the Olympics (29%), the Academy Awards (16%), the World Cup (15%), or the Grammys (15%).

Additional data finds that excitement is just the beginning. Nearly 50% of people agree that Super Bowl commercials enhance their impression of the brands being advertised. This attitude holds relatively steady across all age groups.

When it comes to converting viewers into buyers, 29% of past Super Bowl watchers indicate that the game's commercials have either been the sole purpose or played a role in driving them to make a purchase.

Unlike the previous question on a Super Bowl ad's ability to enhance or diminish a brand's reputation, however, the influence a spot has over driving audience members to buy seems more potent among young viewers aged 18-34 (33%) than viewers aged 55 or older (23%).

As for recall, 32% of people who watched last year's Super Bowl said they could remember a commercial that aired during the game, but weren't entirely clear on all the details. Only 8% reported that they could remember a whole commercial and all of its details. At 71%, the majority of people able to recall a commercial from last year's Super Bowl, at least in part, said they remember seeing a spot for Doritos. (It's worth noting that after a 10-year run of advertising in the Super Bowl, Doritos has decided to sit this year out.) The next brands people most remember seeing an ad for are Mountain Dew (29%) followed by Skittles (26%).

Further data shows that among people who've already watched some of the commercials for the upcoming Super Bowl LI online, 79% indicate that they're still likely to watch the spots again live during the game.

Full survey results available here