Event Marketing Mastery: Super Bowl Ad Trends Through the Years

The Super Bowl marks the peak of the NFL season and is also a significant event in marketing where advertisers showcase their best work. This annual event is renowned for its innovative and unforgettable commercials, providing a prime example of event marketing strategies. 

In this article, we’ll explore some fascinating facts and the history of Super Bowl ads, highlighting the evolution of event marketing and connecting with audiences worldwide on this grand stage.

The Scale of the Super Bowl in Event Marketing

Super Bowl commercials are vital to event marketing, attracting a diverse and vast audience. For instance, according to the television rating service Nielsen, Super Bowl 57 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles captured a record-breaking 115.1 million viewers. This extensive viewership makes the Super Bowl an invaluable platform for brands to engage in high-impact event marketing.

The Evolution of Event Marketing at the Super Bowl

With today’s purchasing power, a modest $42,500 cost for a 30-second spot during the first Super Bowl in 1967 equals roughly $372,390. Today’s marketers will dole out a cool $7 million for an in-game slot. 

The evolution of event marketing at the Super Bowl is crystal clear.  

The commercials shown during the game have become as iconic as the event itself, with many viewers tuning in just to catch the most talked-about ad spots. 

Now, let’s stroll down the game’s advertising hall of fame. 

A Timeline of Memorable Super Bowl Commercials

  1. Super Bowl I (1967): The first Super Bowl – known then as just the AFL-NFL World Championship Game – set the stage for a high-stakes event marketing arena. Fans of Mad Men will enjoy Good Year’s spot from the game. 
  2. Super Bowl XI (1977): Xerox’s viral ad showcased the power of creative storytelling in event marketing with Brother Dominic. The ad was so popular that the storyline was resurrected in 2017 as part of another campaign. 
  3. Super Bowl XIV (1980): Coca-Cola’s advertisement emphasized the brand’s emotional connection with audiences, a crucial element of effective event marketing. The ad also spurred numerous parodies, instilling its place as an iconic ad. 
  4. Super Bowl XVIII (1984): Apple’s groundbreaking ad directed by Ridley Scott, in which a woman hurls a sledgehammer through a droning big screen, “established the Super Bowl as the unofficial high holiday of capitalism,” wrote TIME’s TV critic James Poniewozik in 2000, “the launch pad for baroque, high-profile ads that today generate more excitement than the game.”
  5. Super Bowl XXXIV (2000): The dawn of the aughts deemed the 2000 game “The Dot Com Bowl” due to the onslaught of ads from online stores. made viewers chuckle with a spot reminding us of our furry friends at home. 
  6. Super Bowl XLVIII (2014): Who can resist a cute dog? Budweiser went big on pulling our heartstrings with the Puppy Love spot, featuring the brand’s classic Clydesdales. 
  7. Super Bowl LVI (2022): The power of nostalgia knows no bounds, so when the Soprano’s theme song opened up Chevy’s 2022 spot, social media lit up with excitement.  
  8. Super Bowl LVII (2023): Doritos’ Jack’s New Angle spot is a star-powered advertising moment. Unlike some campaigns that falter under the weight of their star-studded casts, this ad skillfully leveraged the talents of Jack Harlow, Missy Elliot, and Elton John, striking a perfect balance between entertainment and brand messaging.

Post-Game Thoughts

The Super Bowl attracts as much excitement for sponsor spots as the main event. This highlights the lasting impact and evolving landscape of event marketing and how event organizers can create strong connections between partners and attendees. Each year, the Super Bowl surpasses previous standards in creativity and engagement, setting a benchmark for Etherio’s event marketing expertise and consistently delivering strategies that score touchdowns and bring home the Lombardi Trophy for our clients.


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