A Commanding 74% of Super Bowl Commercials were from Companies Engaged in Franchising.

The game it sponsored may have gone to the Baltimore Ravens by a razor thin margin, but the 25th Advertising Super Bowl was a blowout triumph for franchising as franchising companies continued to dominate the advertising buys for the most viewed television program of the year. For the 24th time in the past 25 years the percentage of Super Bowl ads purchased by franchisors dominated non-franchised enterprises.  During Super Bowl XLVII, companies engaged in franchising outspent all other combined enterprises by an estimated record $56 million dollars!

Data: American Association of Franchisees and Dealers.Graphics ‘courtesy of bluemaumau.org’

Data: American Association of Franchisees and Dealers.
Graphic ‘courtesy of bluemaumau.org

These numbers are even more dramatic when 30 CBS network promotional spots and 14 NFL spots are added to the mix.  Both CBS and the NFL have franchised affiliates, and if the value of these 44 ads is factored in the amount that franchise companies spent balloons about $173 million.  In all, 74% (91 ads) of some 123 ads that aired during the 4-hour game broadcast came from businesses engaged in franchising.  This did not include ads run by local affiliates (which in Southern California were also dominated by franchisor spots).

According to American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD) Chairman Robert Purvin, who launched the organization’s Advertising Super Bowl survey 25 years ago, “Super Bowl advertising continues to demonstrate the power of franchising. How else can small business owners afford to share their messages with more than 100 million households at one time?”

CBS reportedly charged a record average price of almost $3.7 million per 30-second spot ($124,000 per second).  The higher cost didn’t seem to impact advertiser demand as CBS reported it sold out the available national network spots.  (Each local network affiliate franchise sold about 30 local spots).  The total number of spots played during the game earned CBS an estimated $292 million dollars.

Yet for a single 30-second spot that cost $3.7 million, the advertising cost for a ubiquitous franchise such as Subway (who aired three spots this year) breaks down to just $148 per store when divided among the approximate 25,000 US restaurants in the chain. “The collective marketing power among franchised businesses is formidable,” adds Purvin.

Among companies that market through franchising, those companies that manufacture products that are distributed through independent dealer networks (called ‘product franchisors’ in the trade) easily dominated the ad buys.  A robust 37 ads were placed by companies that sell cars, beverages, cosmetics and insurance through independent networks.

Business format franchisors –  those businesses that consumers traditionally associate with franchising – accounted for 12 commercials, including spots from McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway, Taco Bell, Century 21, Cars.com, and regional entries (on the West Coast where the survey was conducted) from Jack in the Box, Sonic and Carl’s Jr.  The business format segment was even more active in the pre- and post-game broadcasts.

Budweiser again led all advertisers with 4.5 minutes of air time (the equivalent of about 9 spots), After Budweiser, only 6 advertisers ran more than 1 or 2 commercial spots. Hyundai was second to Budweiser, buying several minutes of ad time, followed by Pepsi, which ran several spots for its franchised soft drink brands and its non-franchised Doritos brand.  Kia, Honda, Lincoln, Chrysler and Toyota all ran multiple spots for various brands.

2013 Super Bowl TV ads

Bus. format & product franchise w/o station & NFL affiliates. Data: AAFD – Graphic ‘courtesy of bluemaumau.org

Manufacturer related ads led the non-franchised segment with 18 spots, including electronics, food producers, pharmaceuticals and two highly-regarded spots from Proctor and Gamble for Tide laundry detergent.  Entertainment advertisers, primarily motion picture promos and video games, slid to second place with 8 ads. Retailers fell off dramatically, with just one ad from Best Buy, as compared to 9 spots placed in 2008.  On the flip side, on-line retailers held steady, with multiple spots run by Cars.com, GoDaddy.com and E-Trade.

During the game approximately 50 different companies advertised.  In addition, there were 2 public service announcements.

This year’s crop of ads was generally praised in comparison to recent years – with some notable winners (and only a couple of losers).  Two of the most memorable ads (both franchise related) tended to the touching and inspirational rather than the humorous: a Dodge tribute to farmers narrated by Paul Harvey and a Budweiser spot of a Clydesdale connecting with the trainer who raised it from birth.

Super Bowl Ad Statistics Spread Sheet