Admit it: You only watch the game for the ads.
Here are some facts about Super Bowl commercials.
• Since 1989, USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter has tracked which of the game’s commercials most resonated with viewers. Once done with focus groups during the game, voting is now conducted online in real time. Some past winners include Diet Pepsi’s 1991 commercial with Ray Charles singing “You Got the Right One Baby,” and a 1992 Nike ad in which Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny play a basketball game on Mars against Marvin the Martian (which directly inspired the 1996 movie Space Jam). From 1999 to 2008, a commercial for Budweiser of Bud Light took the Ad meter honors.
• Throughout the ‘90s, Budweiser aired a series of stop-motion animated commercials throughout each Super Bowl depicting the Bud Bowl, a football game between a squad of Budweiser bottles and a squad of Bud Light bottles. Unlike a lot of Super Bowls, the games were always close. Over the course of eight Bud Bowls, Budweiser won six contests, and Bud Light just two.
• The Super Bowl is almost always the most watched TV program of the year, attracting as many as 110 million viewers. That means the networks can charge exorbitant advertising rates. For Super Bowl I in 1967, a 30-second spot cost $42,000, or $285,000 in today’s money. A spot was up to $324,000 by 1982, and hit $1.1 million in 1995. Ad space in this year’s game: about $4 million.
• One commercial produced for this year’s Super Bowl was too controversial to air. Sex? Violence? Nope. Fox won’t air home soda maker SodaStream’s commercial because spokesperson Scarlett Johansson specifically mentions the competition. “Sorry Coke and Pepsi,” Johansson says as she sips a homemade soda. SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum believes the ad was banned because Fox doesn’t want to upset Coke and Pepsi, two huge advertisers on the network.
• Oddly, this isn’t the first time SodaStream has had a Super Bowl commercial rejected. Last year, the company’s Super Bowl commercial depicted trucks full of Coke and Pepsi products exploding in the wake of a person using a SodaStream. CBS wouldn’t air it…because it directly attacked Coke and Pepsi by name. Instead, the network aired a modified version: There were lots of exploding bottles still, just no mention of Coke or Pepsi.