Marketing expert shares predictions for Super Bowl commercials

A photo of a man sitting on a couch watching football on TV.

On Super Bowl Sunday, many viewers will be tuning in solely for the commercials.

When the Broncos and Panthers square off in Santa Clara Sunday during Super Bowl 50, it's a good bet that a large portion of the audience will be most interested in what's on screen when the game is on break.

Super Bowl commercials have become a tradition unto themselves, where both the risk and reward are sky-high for sponsors. Last year, NBC charged advertisers $4.5 million per 30 seconds to reach the 114.4 million people tuning in. But at the same time, the Internet and social media have provided advertisers with new ways to reach a substantial number of people without forking over major cash to air their spot during the big game.

So what should viewers expect this year? Neil Cohen, an SF State lecturer of marketing and former marketing executive who managed sponsorships for large sporting events, shares his top three Super Bowl predictions below.

1. Puppies and babies will rule

"Advertisers can't help but leverage the cuteness of babies and puppies to get and hold our attention. It's a lock there will be several commercials that feature one or the other or both, regardless if it makes strategic sense or not, such as the Budweiser puppy and horse commercial from 2015."

2. There will be at least five "banned" commercials

"A modern variation of the 'made you look' strategy. It's click-bait for the masses. Everyone wants to see the commercial the Super Bowl or networks rejected, even if it was clearly made with zero intent to ever make it on the air, and share it with their friends on social media."

3. The best Super Bowl ads won't be on TV

"Brands will create some extremely entertaining long-form videos, two to three minutes that will never see air time — Newcastle Brown Ale produced one in 2014 — but receive tens of millions of views and shares on social media."


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