With more consumers spending more time at home amid winter storms and Corona quarantines, the NFL hopes to see a reverse in declining ratings.  As statisticians, we think even the changes in the world due to Covid won’t be enough to drive major gains in SuperBowl ratings:

But even higher ratings won’t reverse the loss in revenue from big advertisers who pulled back:

  • Avocados from Mexico was the first advertiser to pull out of the 2021 Super Bowl.
  • Budweiser donated its Superbowl budget to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative Vaccine Education Initiative, a public health communication campaign and additional efforts to support vaccine adoption efforts.
  • Coke, a regular since 2006, pulled out stating ‘This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times.”
  • Pepsi pulled back commercial units during this year’s Super Bowl. Instead, focusing on the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. The company will still air ads for Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay, according to the AP.
  • Also out are Facebook, Hyundai, Olay, Little Caesars, Sabra Hummus, and Ford.

With some of the old guard out, a new crop of advertisers is on the docket, including a heavy focus on apps and websites:

So with all the new advertisers we still hold out hope that the commercial pods will bring some entertainment, even if ratings are down.  GM is taking the opportunity to step into the limelight with their Will Ferrell Hates Norway campaign – which seems to have already sparked a Chicken Wars-style media battle.

GM’s Will Ferrell Super Bowl ad draws response from Ford (usatoday.com)


Post-Superbowl Update: 

While the number of people at home remains high, there was an overall decline of 15% from 2020, the lowest audience since 2006. The questions that remains as an advertiser; if Covid is the new norm, will 2022 numbers look similar and if so how will that affect the advertisements going forward? According to Neilson data, there is an opportunity for growth as there is an increase of digital in TV ratings (DTVR). Only time will tell as the world continues to adjust and quickly pivot to the increased need for out-of-home advertisements.
Source: AdWeek, February 10th, 2021 
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