Why OOH Is the Smart Alternative to Super Bowl Advertising's Big Price Tag

February 6, 2024

It’s not hard to argue that Super Bowl commercials are now more of a cultural touchstone than the game itself. 

After all, the best ads always seem to linger in the public consciousness far longer than anything that happens on the field. We as a society are still not over the Apple “1984” ad four decades later. But making an impact with a Super Bowl ad takes more than just creativity. It also takes $7,000,000.

Yes, you read that right. A 30-second Super Bowl commercial now costs an average of $7 million (SOURCE: Paramount/CBS). And even if you had $7 million burning a hole in your pocket, you still couldn’t buy one – inventory had completely sold out by the beginning of November. So technically you’d need $7 million and a time machine.

Fortunately, there are other ways to create cultural touchstones, such as the smart alternative to Super Bowl commercials – out of home advertising. In 2022, the CPM for a Super Bowl ad was around $64 (SOURCE: CCF, 2023), while out of home’s CPMs range from $2 to $9 (SOURCE: Solomon Partners, 2022).

Pepsi ad in Phoenix during Super Bowl
That means for the price of a 30-second Super Bowl spot, an advertiser could buy approximately:
  • A four-hour roadblock across every single one of our Times Square digitals, every day for a week (with $700,000 left over)
  • 1 billion digital impressions nationwide over six weeks
Or, in the Super Bowl team markets:
  • Station dominations at San Francisco’s four largest stations for 14 months
  • A complete Kansas City media blitz of 16 digital bulletins, 30 static bulletins, and 50 posters for 80 weeks*

Cost is just one of many reasons to choose out of home over a Super Bowl ad. Why should you buy billboard or transit advertising instead?

  • Four words: social out of home. Out of home is worth sharing year-round, making it well-suited for amplification via influencer. Sure, everyone buzzes about television ads on Super Bowl Sunday. But what about every other day of the year? Dollar for dollar, OOH drives 5.9x more social posts than any other medium. In fact, it outperforms every other channel in seven different forms of digital activation (SOURCE: Comscore, 2022).
  • It takes frequency to make a message stick. “The rule of seven” is a marketing principle that suggests a consumer needs to be exposed to a brand at least seven times before making a purchase. With out of home – and particularly transit media – brands can have multiple touchpoints with their customers every day instead of putting all of their eggs in a single $7 million basket.
  • Out of home is the most trusted advertising medium. Often, the most talked-about Super Bowl commercials tend to be stunts or gimmicks. Great for raising awareness – not so much for building trust. OOH’s real-world presence conveys a sense of legitimacy, which might be why 58% believe what they see in out of home ads (SOURCE: MFour). That trust is especially essential to Gen Z, who value authenticity most of all (SOURCE: Ernst & Young, 2021).
  • OOH lets you target football fans – or anyone else. With smartSCOUT™, our proprietary audience planning tool, we can pinpoint the exact units where an advertiser needs to be in order to best impact its intended customers. Why settle for just demographics when a brand can find its people by their past actions, behaviors, and purchases?
What if you’ve already spent that $7 million though? Good news, media buyers – OOH can build on the momentum that mass reach provides. Next week we’ll show you how some of the Big Game’s most talked-about advertisers are using out of home to supplement their Super Bowl spots. In the meanwhile, you can contact us to kick off your next campaign!

* Note: Hours, impressions, and number of media described above are solely for illustrative purposes. Hours and rates vary by location and are subject to change at any time.

Author: Jay Fenster, Marketing Manager @ OUTFRONT

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