Big brands are dropping Super Bowl ads this year. Does the move make sense?

Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and Ford are out, while DoorDash and Fiverr are in. What gives?


January 28, 2021

This Tom Brady GIF has either triggered you or made you very happy (Source: Giphy)

To find out, we asked Jason Harris, the CEO of ad agency Mekanism. Below is his take on this year’s Super Bowl LV (Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 7).

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The Super Bowl will be missing some staple advertisers this year, including Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Hyundai, Olay, Little Caesars, and Ford.

My agency has created several Super Bowl campaigns for clients over the years, with results up and down the ad meter.

I’m left wondering: What are the brands doing this year?

Super Bowl ads typically increase in cost…

… but this year, the price flatlined at approximately $5.6m for a 30-second spot (the rate was also $5.6m in 2019, up from $2.9m in 2010).

COVID-19 has flipped the script on engagement, too. We are universally stuck at home, quarantined, in the cold. This should mean the biggest year yet for Super Bowl eyeballs and engagement.

Old brands look to be cutting costs for their balance sheets, though, which is creating an opportunity for newer brands.

DoorDash, Vroom, and Fiverr are among the takers

And, it’s a great investment to get quick, underpriced mass awareness on the biggest stage.

Have a multimillion-dollar hole in your pocket?

Well, unlike last year’s Super Bowl — when all inventory was sold out in November — Ad Age reports that CBS still has an unsold inventory of about 20%.

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