Pricey Super Bowl Ads

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of us that the Super Bowl is one of the most widely viewed television events of the year. With well over 100 million views each year and rising, a few seconds of air time to advertise has gotten to be pretty valuable to companies, but at what cost?

According to, the price per second of advertising during Super Bowl I in 1967 was $1,333, and just as the popularity of the Super Bowl has risen each year, so has the price of advertising per second. Can you believe that last year, the price per second had risen to $160,000?! That’s $1.6 million for ten seconds! Not to mention the cost of actually producing the advertisement. According to, the most expensive Super Bowl commercial to produce thus far was Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” in 2013, which cost a whopping $7.6 million to produce. This is not including the cost of airing during the Super Bowl! With a duration of 1:05 minutes, cost to air was over $8 million.

Was it worth it? See the commercial below and decide for yourself. As far as how much revenue it brought to the company? Well, that’s a whole other article!


-Carly Sprinkles



37 thoughts on “Pricey Super Bowl Ads

  1. As entertaining as the commercial was, I can’t say it was worth $7.6 million. I knew Superbowl advertisements were pricey, but I was unaware just HOW pricey. Just goes to show you what this country’s priorities are. Thanks so much for sharing this information!

  2. I actually remember this commercial when it came out, I thought that it was funny and entertaining to watch. I did not know about how much it cost to make it. It was great and all but I do not think it was really necessary to spend that much money on a commercial. To spend that much money on commercial that is only about minute long and only gets watched during the half-time show is crazy. Was it worth it, not really it was good and when I watched it did make me want to get me some tacos, but they could have made it just as good and not spend all that money. Thats just what I think.

  3. To me, just by viewing the commercial I would say it was worth it. Super bowl ads have to be memorable and pack a lot of punch in a short amount of time. I tend to always remember the commercials that shocked me. I know there are technical ways that media and advertising professionals can calculate how profitable spot is. I would love to see how this tv spot ranks.

  4. I am so happy you wrote this blog. I have always wonder how much Super Bowl ads are and a little bit about the process of how companies get them to air. I had no idea they paid by the second and it cost that much! That is insane that a minute long commercial came out to almost 15 million dollars! I also liked how you provided the video so your readers could watch the commercial for themselves and decide. I thought the ad was cute but I’m not sure if it was worth 15 million dollars, that’s for sure.

  5. Although 7.6 million dollars is a LOT of money, I think that if a company can afford it, then advertising at the Superbowl is a great idea due to the amount of viewers the commercial will receive!! Thanks for sharing that video! I definitely got a chuckle out of it! 🙂

  6. HI!

    You’re right that is absolutely so crazy that it is SO expensive per second to air a commercial during the super bowl. You could actually buy a house, for the price of one second. It would have been interesting in this little article to see how those companies benefit from the ads they put out during the super bowl, to see if they were worth the price. I am interested in seeing your next post for the answers! This is very informative, and you did a good job in attributing where you found your statistics.

  7. I had no idea it cost so much to have an ads played during the super bowl, let alone how much it can cost to produce an ad. Really interesting and informative article.

  8. First of all, it is crazy that Taco Bell has that much money. The quality of their food is horrible and I am confused as to why people continue to support them to that extent. The commercial, on the other hand, was really good. It was memorable and it involved the product which a lot of commercials seem to forget to do. The only thing that I would say is it didn’t really make me want Taco Bell but as you can tell, I’m not easily persuaded to eat Taco Bell.

  9. I believe the commercials are just as popular as the superbowl game itself. What makes for a good superbowl is the teams, the half-time show, and the commercials that year. Personally, I’m not into sports so the entertainment of the commercials get me through the night. I definitely remember that Taco Bell Ad. All of the Doritos commercials stand out too in my memory.

  10. Carly,
    I remember this commercial airing during the Super Bowl my junior year of high school. Although, I find this to be an amazing commercial, I do not think it was worth the price tag of 8 million….holy cow. I can only imagine how many people watched this during the game and craved Taco Bell, because I know that I am craving it right now. I believe Taco Bell accomplished their goal of appealing to a broader audience by using elderly people instead of the common “young person” and presenting a view that if you eat Taco Bell you will experience youth or want to participate in youth activities. I am overall glad that Taco Bell aired this commercial, but maybe next time, not for 8 million buck a roos.

  11. That is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a commercial, but this one was hilarious! I had no idea how expensive it is just to air the commercial too! Great article!

  12. That is crazy to think that 1 sec of air time cost $160,000! The marketing cost that companies are willing to spend is simply outrageous. But since they are willing to spend such tremendous amount of money then their marketing gurus must have seen some kind of correlation that is vital for the exposure of their brand.

  13. My overall opinion on the Superbowl commercial craze is that it is insanity! Obviously, it is a strategic marketing move, but in recent years, most of the commercials have followed a trend that basically says “What will make us stand out the most.” It’s not even about the product they are selling anymore, it is about what crazy thing the brand does to get people to remember the commercial subconsciously.

  14. My overall opinion on the Superbowl commercial craze is that it is insanity! Obviously, it is a strategic marketing move, but in recent years, most of the commercials have followed a trend that basically says “What will make us stand out the most.” It’s not even about the product they are selling anymore, it is about what crazy thing the brand does to get people to remember the commercial subconsciously.

  15. I thought the Taco Bell commercial was very well made. It provided a story line to engage the audience, and keep consumers interested by making it a humorous adventure where you were not quite sure what the advertisement was for until the end. But I cannot fathom how it cost $7.6 million dollars to produce or why it was necessary to spend that much. There was nothing earth shattering or crazy where I could see the money going towards. With all the money spent, Taco Bell could have made a deal where every taco bought they will match 50% of the profits to go to charity up to $15.6 million dollars or something more beneficial to the world to help bring in business. Even so, I find it doubtful that Taco Bell’s popularity increased that much in result of the 1:05 minute advertisement. But in the grand scheme of things, aka the fast food chain’s 94 million dollar ad budget as of 2015, $15.6 million is only pocket change.

  16. The fast that Super Bowl ads cost that much nowadays is absurd, but companies pay it, I just hope they see profit from it. Personally, I loved the Taco Bell ad from the Super Bowl. I think it was worth it for them to produce and air because I have heard that they are becoming the healthiest fast food option among others. Customers are constantly being drawn to their new additions to the menu like the Cantina style dishes which tend to be on the healthier side. I think they will see much more revenue from the airing and production of this commercial advertisement. Good choice Taco Bell.

  17. Carly, I really enjoyed reading your post; Super Bowl ads have always fascinated me. I would think they are worth it for the companies that can afford them. Super Bowl ads seem to have a legendary quality about them because they are so expensive and popular. I greatly appreciate the entertainment they provide and the emotions that they create. I enjoy watching the commercials just as much as I enjoy watching the game. Here ( is a commercial your post made me think of. I believe it is from the Super Bowl in 2000, but I still remember it.

  18. WOW… I found the cost of advertising/second to be outrageous…. What I found more interesting was the cost being so expensive even in the late 60’s. I appreciate the inclusion of that statistic so we readers could compare how much it has increased. I enjoyed the commercial and think it was worth the effort of production but as far as 8 million dollars goes, I’m not sure if that is a reasonable cost. On the other hand, an internationally franchised company like Taco Bell may have that in the advertising budget.

  19. I think it’s almost ridiculous for companies to spend that much on commercials during the Super Bowl. Especially for big name brands like Taco Bell who already have made a name for themselves, it doesn’t seem like it would be necessary for them to need an ad that costs so much.

  20. WOW… I found the cost of advertising/second to be outrageous…. What I found more interesting was the cost being so expensive even in the late 60’s. I appreciate the inclusion of that statistic so we readers could compare how much it has increased. I enjoyed the commercial and think it was worth the effort of production but as far as 8 million dollars goes, I’m not sure if that is a reasonable cost. On the other hand, an internationally franchised company like Taco Bell may have that in the advertising budget. I think this post was valid considering it is the most expensive ad to date. I think it may have strengthened the post if you included what the second most expensive Super Bowl ad is just so we know if they blew everyone out of the water, or if Taco Bell was spending only a little more for “Viva Young.”

  21. One of the main reasons I watch the super bowl is for the funny commercials that come with it. I never knew companies were paying that much to show a simple advertisement. That is SO expensive. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. Next year when I watch the ads I am going to be thinking, “I wonder how much money this company spent making this?”. Companies most likely get a lot of business from the commercials though so maybe in the end they will make that money back.

  22. This is a great topic of discussion when it comes to the ever famous Super Bowl. The advertising/commercials are almost as popular as the game. Many civilians tune in just to watch these commercials and about 50 percent of the U.S. population is watching so I can see how these time slots can cost millions. Millions of viewers equals millions of dollars per time slot, less than a dollar a viewer. However, was this specific ad worth the money? In my opinion, no. My personal opinion of what constitutes a successful ad is whether or not you influence your audience to take the action you want them to take. For a fast food company such as Taco Bell I’m guessing their main objective would be to influence people to eat more taco bell and this ad doesn’t necessarily make me want to eat more Taco Bell. The ad is memorable because of the outrageousness and humor but I don’t think it accomplishes a multi-million dollar objective, to ultimately make people eat more Taco Bell.

  23. I find it so intriguing that out of corporations out there Taco Bell has spent the most on a Super Bowl commercial so far. Maybe it’s because they are starting to lack an adequate amount of consumers, and they are willing to pay whatever the price is just to remind others of their food chain. I also believe that commercial was not worth the price that they paid considering that the commercial only featured Taco Bell for about ten seconds out of the whole minute commercial.

  24. I really wonder if the price of a Superbowl Ad is really worth it. How much of an increase in sales do brands see after their Ad airs during the Superbowl? Many people do, however, look forward to seeing the commercials every year during the game. In the past couple years there really hasn’t been any stand out commercials worth enjoying. This one is alright, but I don’t think it was worth the money Taco Bell paid. They could have done a shorter commercial of a similar variety I think to spread their brand name. I personally like them enough to not need a one minute ad.

  25. With the increasing popularity of the Superbowl, you can’t blame Taco Bell for wanting to advertise their business this way. However, with the costs of production and advertisement being that high, I doubt they profited much from doing so. I think they should have stuck to something much more short and sweet. I also feel that they are trying to attract the wrong crowd. The older generation have already made up their minds on whether or not they will eat at places like Taco Bell. Lastly, there was very little emphasis on the food. Most of this video shows clips of the younger lifestyle rather than portraying what’s awesome about Taco Bell. The commercial was funny and I did enjoy it, but I feel this advertisement wasn’t the best of their options.

  26. WOW! I did not know that out of all the ads during the Super Bowl, Taco Bell had the most expensive. As I did think it was entertaining I do not think it was worth $8 Million Dollars. I don’t understand why people even pay for Super Bowl commercials. If they know to watch the Super Bowl, then they probably know what Taco Bell is.

  27. I have always had an idea that Superbowl commercials were expensive, however I had no clue just how expensive they were and the fact that you pay by the second. To think that companies spend millions of dollars on 30 second ads spots is crazy! Personally, I thought the Viva Young commercial was clever and funny, but I didn’t think it was worth 7.6 million dollars. I guess thats the price you pay for advertising in the Superbowl though.

  28. To me it is shocking that Taco Bell chose this commercial to air in the superbowl. This commercial seems to pretain to a certain group and that is young people that go out for late night fun. I don’t see how spending all that money increased revenue. The commercail doesn’t invite consumers in mass numbers. It seems like Taco Bell spent around $15 million on advertising to promote their products to the same market as they normally do. I don’t believe they grew their market, in which $15 million dollars should.

  29. I have always been curious about the amount of money it takes to produce and air an ad during the super bowl. I knew it had to be expensive, but didn’t know to what extent. It seems a little excessive to spend $8 million on an advertisement like that, but it was memorable to a lot of people. I would be interested to see if that particular ad actually benefitted Taco Bell in any way.

  30. I really thought this article was interesting, Carly! It’s crazy to think of how much it costs just to create and air a less than 2 minute video. I suppose for companies as big as Taco Bell, dropping $8 million for an advertisement probably isn’t that much of a deficit considering the amount of exposure they’re getting by airing it during the Super Bowl. Regardless of how much they spent on the commercial, though, I did find this ad to be interesting and definitely humorous!

  31. I find it crazy that companies are spending so much for one advertisement! As crazy it is, the Super Bowl is probably the best place to spend so much for one. Some people watch it for the game but some people watch just for the commercials now. If you are going to pay that much money to produce a commercial, might as well spend some more just to make sure everyone will see it. I personally find the Taco Bell one funny but I am a fan of their food already so a little bias.

  32. I think this was an excellent commercial that captured the spirit of Taco Bell and their brand, however, I do think eight million dollars is way too much money for this. I think the ad was very memorable, and I’m sure it boosted business, but I feel like they could have made a simpler version of this for much cheaper. Eight million dollars is a lot of tacos from Taco Bell.

  33. I do believe $8 million dollars is a lot for an advertisement, however; if you look closely in the advertisement (which I don’t think is THAT great of an advertisement) the taco shell that the older man is eating towards the end of the commercial, is a Doritos shell. Taco Bell and Doritos partnered up in the same year that this ad was filmed for the super bowl. Meaning, I don’t think that Taco Bell funded the entire $8 million dollars. I believe Doritos had a lot to do with the funding, even if it was only half…$4 million dollars is a big difference. Even though the commercial was kind of funny, I don’t think the commercial was worth what it cost, for either company.

  34. I knew that it was a lot of money to produce a commercial on the Super Bowl but I had no idea it was that much! I personally do not think spending 8 million dollars on a commercial is worth it. I get why it is so expensive to air your commercial during the Super Bowl, because almost everyone is watching it, but I do not think it makes that much of a darastic effect on how many more people use or eat their products.

  35. Another question might be is the rising cost to produce a commercial on the Super Bowl actually bringing down the quality of the advertisement itself? Personally, over the years the Super Bowl commercials have been in a steady decline of authenticity, emotion, and a good story. Super Bowl Commercials use to be almost important as the game. So I guess to answer the question it isn’t worth it when the quality of the advertisement no longer sparks emotion or a connection with the audience.

  36. Just like everyone else is saying, I agree that 8 million dollars is a lot of money for just a commercial. This commercial in particular was very funny and caught my attention. Personally, their commercial isn’t going to make me drive to a Taco Bell and buy their food. However, next time I drive past one on the road, this commercial with all of the old people will be glued in my mind. I don’t think this commercial is worth 8 million dollars but that is just my opinion.

  37. I think it was a good investment. Most of Taco Bell’s marketing is geared towards a high school college age crowd. To me, this commercial was a good move because it was played during a football game that draws an audience of all ages, and if Taco Bell can make those old folks in the nursing home feel like they are young again, then why not go and grab some? I would like to see that ‘other article’ and see how much of a return Taco Bell received afterwards and figure if the cost for the production and airing of that commercial was really worth it.

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