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Peter R. Orszag

Some Super Bowl Ads Are Worth the Price

Refuting the conventional wisdom that multi-million-dollar air time is a bad buy.
Ads that work.

Ads that work.

Photographer: Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

A 30-second ad that airs during this weekend’s Super Bowl, viewed by an estimated 100 million Americans, will cost more than $5 million. Does that amount to overpriced entertainment, or do these ads generate big sales? In many cases, it seems the ads more than pay for themselves.

Many marketing experts say Super Bowl ads are much less cost effective than other advertising, based in part on survey evidence. In one study, researchers interviewed consumers before and after a Super Bowl and found that very few ads led to increased purchases or even boosted viewers’ intention to buy.