Do Record-High Super Bowl Ad Spots Mean More Consumer Spending?

Do Record-High Super Bowl Ad Spots Mean More Consumer Spending?

altWe all remember the Budweiser Frogs. And the E-Trade Baby. And the Old Spice Man. But when it comes to who won the Super Bowl games these ads starred in, we're stuck.

The Super Bowl isn't just the biggest day of the year for football fans. It's also the biggest day of the year for advertisers.

It's par for the course that the spots sell out months before the actual broadcast, and spots for Super Bowl 2012, which airs February 5, are already gonefor about $3.5 million each, the highest price ever.

Are sky-high advertising costs indicative of a larger trend: a recovering economy?

High Prices, Slow Spending

The 59% increase in the cost of Super Bowl ad spots since 2001 seems like a good sign. If advertisers can afford to pay $3.5 million for a space, they must be getting that money from somewhere, and perhaps that somewhere is our wallets.

But the high price isn't the only way of judging whether an economic uptick is afoot. Last year's ad space sold out before October, and this year's more expensive slots didn't hit that mark until Thanksgiving.

And in fact, consumer spending has dipped in the end of 2011 and the forecast isn't great for 2012. So it looks like advertisers are splurging on the Super Bowl less because they're flush with cash and more because we're holding on to ours for dear life. (Then again, maybe consumer spending won't rejuvenate the economy. Find out why.)

The ads, also known as the best part of the broadcast for football non-fans, aren't just fodder for Top 10 lists and YouTube channels. They're an advertiser's biggest chance of the year to make their product stick in our heads. And we'll give them that—after all, we love the ads as much as the next person.

But loving the ads and buying the products aren't necessarily correlated. Now that we're up against a recession and keeping a cap on our spending, we can only wish luck to the advertisers seizing opportunity.

Image Credit: Know Your Meme

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