Super Bowl ads on TV have immense reach and cost big money. Last year’s Super Bowl XLVI attracted 111.3 million viewers, making it the most watched U.S. telecast of all time. This level of exposure doesn’t come cheap, however, as advertisers spent an average of $3.4 million for a 30-second spot, up more than $300,000 from 2011, according to Nielsen. Ads that aired during last year’s Super Bowl were also 34 percent more memorable and 42 percent better-liked than commercials that aired just a month earlier (January 2012).
Many of this year’s big ad spenders were well-known names from familiar categories. Automotive, beer, motion pictures and soft drinks held their positions among the top-five categories, while the uptick in manufacturing spend for Super Bowl XLVI nudged out tortilla chips.
Auto made an aggressive comeback in 2011 and continued to blaze a trail as an ad spending leader during Super Bowl XLVI. After spending more than twice than the motion picture category in 2011, the auto category outspent beer by nearly three-fold in 2012—landing the top spot, by spending $90.5 million. Beer, led by Budweiser and Bud Light, came in a distant second place by spending $31.5 million. With big spenders--like Dodge (Ram), Acura, Audi, Chevy, Fiat--and several others that made the list of top 20 advertisers last year, auto shows no signs of slowing down.