John Ayling & Associates

The Original Independent Media Specialist. Built on integrity, professionalism and transparency, we have a 40-year track record of delivering creative and rigorous media planning and buying across all channels.

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Founded: 1978
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Superbowl on-field, Cryptobowl off-field

February 14, 2022

Did you stay up for it? If you didn’t, you missed a thriller. Yet the Superbowl is the only global sporting event where the adverts are discussed and dissected more than the actual match. This shouldn’t be a surprise when the average overnight commercial audience is likely to exceed 100m. To put this into context, this is a 40 GRP commercial programme whereas England’s win over Denmark in the Euros delivered ‘only’ 28 GRPs. It is no surprise that an average 30” spot was reportedly going for in excess of £4m on NBC last night.

So what are you actually getting for it? Judging by the fact that Budweiser, Cheetos, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Pringles and General Motors are all regular year-in-year out Superbowl advertisers, it is evident that you can continue to be part of the national public consciousness. You advertise safe in the knowledge that the country is seeing your spot at the same time – and if you create a blockbuster creative execution you can amplify your audience reach via social media.

However, you are also getting the benefits of something that Rory Sutherland talks about a lot - ‘costly signalling’. New brands such as CueHealth, Coinbase Global, FTX and are all inferring that by being able to fund a Superbowl spot that they are solid, reliable, trustworthy institutions. Indeed, Wired magazine has even referred to last night’s advertising palooza as the ‘Cryptobowl’ They warn of a similar vibe to the year 2000 where the largesse of advertisers preceded the crash where ‘won’ the Superbowl only to spectacularly fail later that year.

Indeed, Wired magazine appear to be right. One of the golden rules of performance advertising is to make sure that you have the means to farm and fulfil the response. Coinbase Global’s bouncing QR code crashed their website which rather defeats the point of ‘costly signalling’.

UK television advertisers are very fortunate compared to US advertisers for two reasons. Firstly, the US market has the Superbowl which will deliver 40 GRPs yet they have very little else to offer advertisers as far as commercial ‘event’ programming is concerned. Indeed, Dancing With The Stars Finale is lucky if it delivers 2 GRPs. Yet here over the pond, advertisers can gorge on shows such as I’m A Celebrity (17 GRPs), Great British Bake Off (15 GRPs), Ant&Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (13 GRPs), The Masked Singer (10 GRPs) and late-peak drama on ITV can easily exceed 10 GRPs even on the linear stream.

Secondly, the UK linear TV market – despite the double-digit percentage point inflation that we have seen in the last nine months – is still staggeringly cheap compared to the US and indeed other European TV markets. Our nearest equivalent of the Superbowl will be this year’s Qatar World Cup where 30” spots in England knock-out games will probably trade for roughly £300,000 which is roughly half the CPM of last night’s Superbowl. So if you are a US advertiser looking for value in Europe, look no further than the UK. Indeed, there is so much ‘event ‘ programming in the UK compared to the US, there is a real opportunity to run consequential weight to sear your brand into the British public consciousness.

And for what it’s worth, General Motors look as if they ‘won’ the advertising Superbowl creatively. Enjoy!

By Richard Temple, CEO, John Ayling & Associates


media buying
Super Bowl
Brand advertising
costly signalling