Beyond Creative Spark
There’s always a lot of conversation around ad creative during the Super Bowl. Full on cinematic quality storytelling for a few seconds. I won’t give my take on that, a lot of it has been said.
The area I reflect on most, naturally, is the cost of that air time and how much companies are willing to invest their resources for moments of our attention. 2024 ads were roughly going for $7M for a :30 second ad in-game. Roughly $233k per second for anyone that’s counting. On average, CBS has between 40-70 spots they’re selling, so for a baseline line lets say they sell 55 spots – that’s $385M. And that doesn’t count for longer ads, pre-game and post game advertising, as well as digital ancillary marketing.
The Price of Attention
Is the media math actually mathin’ for brands who invest in the big game? From an efficiency to reach a general audience, yes. It’s actually a bargain for the kind of content you’re paying to be in and the cultural fabric you become a part of from the millions of attentive viewers. And with Taylor Swift in the picture this year I’m sure there will be a nice bump in the ratings CBS wasn’t accounting for when putting a price tag on their inventory.
But this Super Bowl reflection isn’t about that either. Not entirely.
A Vision For Change: Redirecting Funds for Global Good
Imagine, just for a minute, if a fraction of the estimated $385 million – even just 1% – were channeled towards causes that tackle some of our society’s (and world’s) most pressing issues. Redirecting just a sliver of this could lead to transformative outcomes: feeding millions of the food insecure, providing dozens of families with homes, and planting millions of trees to rejuvenate our home. 🌎
I like real world metrics, so let’s get into some different kind of Super Bowl numbers shall we? What could 1% get us of $385 Million.
- Feeding the Food Insecure: Using the calculation that $1 can help provide at least 10 meals (based on Feeding America’s estimate), that could help provide 38.5 million meals to families in need.
- Providing Homes: Let’s use the cost of constructing affordable housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that the average cost to construct an affordable housing unit can range from $100,000 to $150,000. For simplicity, we’ll use an average cost of $125,000 per unit. $3.85 million could help build approximately 31 affordable housing units to individuals or families in need.
- Reducing Reliance on Fossil Fuels: Let’s say the average cost for installing a 7.5 kW solar panel system in a home is approximately $21,075. With an investment of $3.85 million in renewable energy, it would be possible to energize approximately 183 homes with solar power. By energizing 183 homes with solar power instead of grid electricity, the total annual electricity consumption of these homes would be approximately 1,948,767 kWh. This transition to solar energy would result in a reduction of approximately 779,507 kilograms (or about 779.5 metric tons) of CO2 emissions annually. By energizing 183 homes with solar power, that’s equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions from driving an average passenger car for about 1,929,472 miles. That’s the equivalent of about 642 cross country road trips from Maine to California. Let the good times roll, am I right?
- Clean Water: Looking at Africa as a sample as the access to clean water continues to diminish rapidly, we need to consider the cost of water provision projects, which can vary depending on the project type (e.g., boreholes, wells, water purification systems) and location within Africa. Costs can range but for simplicity, let’s use the cost of constructing a borehole, which is a common method for providing access to clean water in many parts of Africa. The cost of drilling and constructing a borehole can range from $1,500 to $15,000. Let’s use an average cost of $8,000 per borehole. With $3.85 million (1% of the revenue from Super Bowl advertisements), it would be possible to fund the construction of approximately 481 boreholes in Africa. This would significantly impact water accessibility, providing clean and safe drinking water for roughly 144,300 to 240,500 people across the continent, thereby improving health, supporting agriculture, and enhancing quality of life for potentially thousands of people.
- Reforestation Efforts: The cost to plant a tree can vary, but for reforestation efforts, a commonly cited figure is between $0.10 to $1 per tree, depending on the project’s scale and location. For this, we’ll use an average cost of $0.50 per tree. With $3.85 million dedicated towards reforestation efforts, approximately 7.7 million trees could be planted. This could significantly impact reforestation projects, aiding in carbon capture, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem restoration.
Redefining Media Math: From Impressions to Impact
I know that’s not the typical “media math” but what if the dialogue in how and where we invested towards media evolved beyond reach, beyond frequency, beyond impressions and clicks, and focused on real world impact metrics? Changing lives beyond product consumption patterns.
This is not about diminishing the value of marketing or the importance of making a profit. Rather, it’s about envisioning a world where our biggest stages can also be platforms for collective action and positive change. It’s about inspiring a standard of giving back, woven into the fabric of the media business.
The Final Whistle
The power of sports and media to unite and inspire is unparalleled. My hope is that in between the rolling celebrity commercials, we push toward extending this power beyond the field, beyond the screen, and work on creating a legacy of impact that lasts long after the final whistle. Let’s celebrate the wins, not just in points scored, or how great Usher is in the halftime show, but in lives touched and environments that we’re able to regenerate. Together, we can redefine what it means to score a touchdown for humanity.
Inspired by The Vision? Here Are Ways to Support
Below are organizations making significant strides in addressing some of our world’s most pressing issues. Consider supporting these causes to help create a legacy of impact:
Supporting Food Insecurity
- Feeding America: The nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, working to connect people with food and end hunger.
- The Hunger Project: Aimed at sustainably ending hunger and poverty through community-led strategies.
- Habitat for Humanity: This global nonprofit works in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries to help families build or improve a place they can call home.
Advancing Clean Energy
- SolarAid: An international charity that combats poverty and climate change by providing access to solar lights in some of the most remote regions of the world.
Ensuring Clean Water Access
- charity: water: A non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
- WaterAid: An international non-profit focused on making clean water, reliable toilets, and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere.
Supporting Reforestation Efforts
- One Tree Planted: A non-profit organization with a focus on global reforestation. They plant trees to restore nature and biodiversity.
- Trees for the Future: Working to end hunger and poverty by training farmers to regenerate their land through tree planting.
Each of these organizations offers a unique opportunity to contribute toward a more sustainable and equitable world. By supporting them, we can extend the impact of our actions beyond our immediate surroundings and help address global challenges. Let’s harness the collective power of our communities to make a difference, one step at a time.
Our roots run deep in media planning, placement and buying, and we use that knowledge to think about the critical engagement path between media and the desired audience outcome. By leveraging a combination of paid, earned, and owned media, we create a holistic strategy designed to empower and move people for maximum impact.