Why Super Bowl ad rates defy gravity

Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans is still weeks away, but the marketing hype associated with the game is well underway. CBS (CBS) has the broadcasting rights to this year’s NFL championship event and has already sold out its Super Bowl ad inventory with some 30-second slots going for a cool $4 million, according to trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable.

There’s nothing quite like the global audience that the Super Bowl commands – about 113 million Americans tuned in 2012. And few chief marketing officers can resist the temptation to spend big in the hope of scoring the kind of memorable, daring ad that transforms a brand. (Think of the iconic Apple 1984 Super Bowl ad.)

However, precious few ads rise to that level and the price of admission keeps going up. Super Bowl ad spending has doubled over the last decade to more than $260 billion.  And some big American companies are no longer interested in staying in the game.

General Motors (GM) announced in May that it would take a pass on this year’s NFL spectacular. Joel Ewanick, GM’s global marketing chief, told the Wall Street Journal that the automaker didn’t want to swallow another ad price hike for uncertain results. “It’s just getting too expensive,” Ewanick said. “And we’re not just going to do the same thing every year.”

Even so, Toyota (TM), Chrysler, Ford (F), Mercedes, Audi, Hyundai and Kia will all have ads this time around. So will a host of less obvious suspects, according to Ad Age. Roll International’s Wonderful Pistachios brand is planning a spot featuring Korean “Gangnam Style” rapper Psy.

SodaStream International (SODA), a popular holding among several Covestor managers, the Milk Processor Education Program, and Gildan Activewear (GIL) will also have their moment in the spotlight.

Oh by the way, there’s also a football game taking place on February 3 in New Orleans. Tickets are still available at the NFL Ticket Exchange, starting at an affordable $2,000 and heading up to an airy $11,900 or so.

Photo: Girl.in.the.D