The phenomenon is a result of the game's extremely high viewership and wide demographics: Super Bowl games have frequently been among the United States' most watched television broadcasts, with Nielsen having estimated that Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was seen by at least 114.4 million viewers in the United States, surpassing the previous year's Super Bowl as the highest-rated television broadcast in U. Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon of their own alongside the game itself; many viewers only watch the game to see the commercials, national surveys (such as the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter) judge which advertisement carried the best viewer response, and CBS has aired yearly specials since 2000 chronicling notable commercials from the game.
television broadcast of the Super Bowl – the championship game of the National Football League (NFL) – features many high-profile television commercials, colloquially known as Super Bowl ads. As such, advertisers have typically used commercials during the Super Bowl as a means of building awareness for their products and services among this wide audience, while also trying to generate buzz around the ads themselves so they may receive additional exposure, such as becoming a viral video.
A number of major brands, including Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Doritos, Go Daddy and Master Lock, have been well known for making repeated appearances during the Super Bowl.
The prominence of airing a commercial during the Super Bowl has also carried an increasingly high price: the average cost of a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl has ranged from $37,500 at Super Bowl I, to around $2.2 million at Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, and by Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, had doubled to around $4.5 million.
The cost of advertising during the Super Bowl has reached a point that some companies may not be able to recoup their costs from the resulting revenue.
Super Bowl games have frequently been among the United States' most watched television broadcasts; Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 set an all-time record for viewership at the game, with an average of 114.4 million viewers according to Nielsen, exceeding a record set the previous year at Super Bowl XLVIII (112.2 million).
Of the top eight television broadcasts in the United States by viewership, only one program—"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen", the 1983 series finale of M*A*S*H—was not a Super Bowl, ranking in between Super Bowl XLIII (98.7 million) and XLIV (106.6 million) with 106 million viewers.
The game broadcast not only attracts a wide audience, but a diverse audience spanning many demographics and age groups, and women have accounted for at least 40% of Super Bowl viewers.
As such, airing a commercial during the Super Bowl can be valuable for advertisers seeking an audience for their products and services.
Since 2000, CBS has aired an annual television special prior to the game, Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials, which showcases notable Super Bowl ads from prior games, and in recent years, has allowed viewers to vote for their favorite Super Bowl ads to be featured during it.
Many viewers watch the Super Bowl only for the commercials: in 2015, Dish Network went as far as allowing the "Primetime Anytime" and "Auto Hop" features on its Hopper digital video recorder, which automatically records primetime programs from the major networks and trims commercials from the recordings, to function in reverse and allow users to view a recording of the Super Bowl that skips over the game itself and only shows the commercials.
A notable example of this strategy occurred at Super Bowl XLV: on February 2, 2011, four days prior to the game, Volkswagen posted the full version of its Star Wars-themed ad "The Force" on You Tube.
By Sunday, the ad had already received over 16 million views, and went on to be the most shared Super Bowl advertisement ever.