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Forget it's the first Super Bowl ever featuring brothers as opposing head coaches. Or the fact that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will be playing in his last game. Or that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, will be starting only the 10th NFL game of his career.
For many Americans, the commercials will be the most entertaining part of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
That helps explain why companies will spend almost $4 million this year for one 30-second ad.
The ads may or may not pay off in the form of higher sales or revenue.
But multiple studies show one clear benefit for publicly traded companies that advertise through Super Bowl commercials: The ads boost the companies' stock prices before and after the big game.
Why's Wall Street Like Super Bowl Ads?
One study done by a researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder shows advertisers see an increase in their stock price after announcing they will have a Super Bowl commercial.
That's because Wall Street expects appearing in the Super Bowl will improve the company's stock and factors that into the price ahead of the game, the study found. People also view ads online before they are aired, adding to the hype.
Another study shows that companies' stocks benefit not only before the Super Bowl, but after their ad airs as well.
From 1996 to 2011, Super Bowl advertisers outperformed the S&P 500 index by more than 1% on average in the period from the Monday before the Super Bowl through the Friday after the game, according to research by Dr. Rama Yelkur, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire who studies Super Bowl ads.
"One percent doesn't sound like much until you realize that it translates into tens of billions of dollars," Yelkur said. "Our research suggests that advertising in the Super Bowl is a tradable event."
She also found companies that repeat their Super Bowl ads throughout the year tend to outperform the market longer than a week. This is especially true of food and beverage companies, Yelkur said.
Can Super Bowl Ads Lead to a Company's Rebound?
Some struggling companies have looked to Super Bowl ads for much-needed positive exposure.
E*TRADE Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: ETFC) was one of the first companies to suffer in 2007 as a result of the financial crisis, with its stock falling over 85% that year.
After it aired its first talking-baby ad in the 2008 Super Bowl, its stock rose 4% the next week. The company also saw a 32% increase in new brokerage accounts the week after the aid aired.
Best Buy Inc. (NYSE: BBY) will introduce an ad that features actress and comedian Amy Poehler. This is the third straight year Best Buy has placed an ad in the Super Bowl, and it comes as the company struggles to find its identity.
Founder and former Chairman Richard Schulze has repeatedly attempted to take the company private and that uncertainty sent BBY stock down more than 50% in 2012.
Research in Motion, making its Super Bowl debut, will feature its new Blackberry 10 and its latest operating system.
But will the Super Bowl ads help save the two companies – or at least boost their stock prices?
We'll have to watch to find out.
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