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$7m for a Big Game ad? Here’s why OOH is a smarter bet for advertisers in 2024
March 16, 2023
The day after football fans poured out of State Farm Stadium and Big Game parties wrapped, ad planning for the 2024 Big Game was already ramping up. As much as audiences tune in to watch the game and half-time show each year, many of them are purely in it for the commercials, which require months of planning.
This year’s Big Game served up a star-studded buffet of ads featuring Ben Affleck, Will Ferrell, Kevin Bacon, Serena Williams, and many others. However, the price tag for securing a celebrity presence for a Big Game ad starts at six figures. Add that to an expected $7m for a 30-second media buy, up $500,000 from 2022, plus additional creative, planning, and production costs, and that’s a significant investment. According to the OAAA, CPMs for this year’s event were expected to reach an all-time high of around $62.
A brand or agency could easily blow an entire year’s ad budget on a Big Game ad, but is it worth it? In some cases, absolutely. For others, there might be better options. 113 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2023 event, which certainly posed brand awareness advantages. Brands rolled out teasers or full spots ahead of time to build interest, and post-game commercial chatter in the media and amongst friends on social media platforms further extended their value. There’s a definite ROI for a broadcast media play, but there are also more economical choices to capitalize on Big Game buzz in 2024.
According to a survey conducted ahead of the 2023 Big Game, 17.8 million people planned to watch the big game this year at a restaurant, while 103.5 million people planned to throw or attend a party. That figure poses sizeable audience reach potential for brands with smaller budgets who embrace OOH advertising, considering host and guest trips to the grocery store to stock up on game time snacks and travel between homes and restaurants for gatherings. From roadside billboards to street furniture, transit, in-store and in-restaurant signage, EV charging station displays, and beyond, there are many ways to capture a captive Big Game audience with OOH.
Done right with dynamic visuals and smart creative, OOH campaigns leading up to and after the game can give brands a Big Game awareness bump and likely with a higher level of consumer recall compared to other major media channels. It can be a great option for advertisers looking to capitalize on the event while maximizing reach with continuous ad exposure and directly influence purchasing decisions, which is something to keep in mind considering Americans spent $616 million in 2022 on Big Game snacks.
If you can’t imagine what a traditional $6.5 million Big Game ad budget might translate to in terms of OOH value, OAAA and Geopath did the math. They found that for a $6.5 million investment in a Big Game ad, a brand could leverage OOH to get coverage in 50 of the top markets in the U.S, scoring more than 1 billion Geopath audited impressions with an average reach of 84 percent and frequency of 9.5 in 27 markets - all for a CPM of $5.40. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
Even if you don’t have millions to spare on a Big Game advertising strategy, launching OOH campaigns around the event can be highly effective, especially for local brands looking to take advantage of a football-loving crowd. You can plan these events months out via direct bookings, or leverage programmatic digital-out-of-home (pDOOH) to create and run campaigns on the fly, triggering ads based on factors like game score, special promos, or live odds.
Speaking of odds, with the Big Game as one of the largest sports betting events of the year, OOH is a particularly interesting strategy for sports betting companies looking to maximize the ROI of their advertising budget. 2023 saw $100m in sports betting transactions this year, up 25 percent from 2022, and recent data from the OAAA found that 54 percent of U.S. consumers in major cities have noticed OOH ads for sports betting and gambling, with 62 percent having engaged in some way after seeing the ads.
Whether you’re a sports betting company or a brand looking to capitalize on Big Game audiences, there are ways to make a splash around the event that won’t break the bank. OOH and pDOOH ads with contextually relevant, dynamic creative present a smart alternative that will take your budget much further. And even if you’re already committed to running a Big Game ad next year, OOH can be used to drive attention to it. The creative possibilities of OOH and the Big Game are interminable and waiting to be explored.