Some surprising — and not so surprising — stats about Super Bowl ads

WASHINGTON — Companies spend millions of dollars for 30 seconds of commercial airtime during the Super Bowl each year, and plenty of viewers say they only watch the game for these showstopping ads. But how effective are they?

Experience management Qualtrics conducted a survey of 1,000 people to gauge their opinions and experiences with these super-spots and came up with a few surprising — and some unsurprising — numbers.

First thing’s first: The game itself. Every Super Bowl party has the ad-shusher. That one person who quiets down the whole party as soon as there’s a break in the action so that they can check out the ads. Well according to the survey, about 20 percent of people say they only watch the game for the commercials. Seventy percent say that they’re in it for the game itself. The other 10 percent say they’re only in it for the party. Buncha freeloaders.

While companies pump millions of dollars into these ads each year, most people see them as a one-time event. Ninety-one percent of respondents said they only saw the ads during the game, not online beforehand or after.

Fifty percent of people were unable to recall a single ad from last year’s Super Bowl, which is unsurprising because …

Viewers who drank during the Super Bowl — 64 percent, to be exact — said they consumed too much alcohol to remember the ads that played. The same number of people were unable to recall the halftime performance.

That loss of focus doesn’t just apply to the ads though; 66 percent of people said they lost track of the game by the third quarter thanks to their alcohol consumption.

Some good news for the ad-makers: 43 percent of people say that Superbowl ads have been improving in quality in the last five years, while 30 percent say that the ads are getting worse. Presumably, the other 23 percent lifted a beer in the air and shouted “Dilly dilly!”

According to the survey, people respond best to funny or inspiring ads. The most disliked ads are political messages or ads that feature celebrities.

Despite the legendary status of Super Bowl ads, there are still some who think they could do them better. Thirty percent of respondents say they think they could do it better than the professionals. The majority of this swath of untapped talent live in the southeast United States. Take your best shot guys; even if you fail, people probably won’t remember your attempt by this time next year anyway.

Finally, 87 percent of people who responded in the survey said they want to watch the Super Bowl. The other 13 percent? They’d rather take a nap. Good luck with that.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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