How Super Bowl overtime commercials are sold
CBS, which aired the game on Feb. 11, had a contingency in place, having pre-sold Super Bowl LVIII ad units for overtime just in case, according to a source familiar with the matter. While national in-game ads cost advertisers around $7 million per 30-second unit, overtime slots were much less: A 30-second spot in overtime was priced around $4 million, according to sources familiar with negotiations.
A Paramount spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
The beginning of the 49ers and Chiefs game began slow, which Nickelodeon’s playful simulcast poked fun at when it displayed an on-screen graphic that read, “3 hours later … finally scored a TD,” referring to the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the game during the third quarter. But the Big Game picked up in its final quarter, when the Chiefs caught up to the 49ers in the final seconds, leading to the second Super Bowl overtime in history (the first was in 2017, when the Patriots defeated the Falcons).
Inventory for overtime is purchased by brands in various ways. Some brands negotiated overtime units in advance of the game, while others, such as Discover, bid on the inventory in real time during the fourth quarter, when the possibility of overtime was apparent.
“When working with our clients to plan their overall presence at the Big Game, we know it’s critical to think big picture and beyond the game itself,” said Martin Blich, executive director of sports and live investment for GroupM US. GroupM’s Mindshare is the media agency for Discover and EssenceMediacom is the media agency for Universal Pictures, which also aired two spots in overtime. “With attention for this year’s event at an all-time high, we worked with our brand partners before the game and in real-time during the fourth quarter to land these coveted overtime advertising spots that we know will resonate with viewers and drive action.”
The brands advertising in overtime took different approaches to their commercials. State Farm, which won this year’s USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter, reprised its Super Bowl spot from earlier in the broadcast, cut down to a 30-second version from the 60 that ran earlier in the game. Omnicom’s OMD handles media for State Farm.
Universal Pictures, which earlier in the night ran trailers for “Wicked” and “Twisters,” returned in overtime with trailers for “Monkey Man” and “Kung Fu Panda 4”
Some brands managed to get overtime ad time without buying a $7 million spot earlier in the game. Progressive and Discover, which did not air spots in the first four quarters, appeared in overtime. Progressive’s ad brought back “Watch Party,” a football-themed spot starring hip-hop duo Kid ‘N Play which originally launched last November. Discover aired a spot starring Jennifer Coolidge that ran in the pre-game.
Measurement company AdImpact estimates a total of 115.5 million viewers watched Super Bowl LVIII based on its smart TV device panel. Of that viewership, 114.4 million were still tuned in when the game entered overtime, which slowly declined until 111 million witnessed the Chiefs claim victory.