Peeks Report

Who Won With All Those Big Game Ads? Fox, Say Marketers


  •  Marketers love marketing, even more than football as 58% polled said they’re watching for the ads, not the football.
  • Beer brands are seen as the best suited for an ad slot during the game, with 77% of respondents picking them among their top three. B2B brands were only picked 6% of the time.
  • The TV network was named as the top beneficiary of all the hype around the Big Game’s ads. Only 7% said viewers get the most out of the ads.

What Big Game? 58% of Marketers Watched for the Ads

The Big Game. It’s the year’s most high-profile moment when the worlds of football and TV advertising collide.

So how did it all play out? If you’re a citizen of Kansas City, you’re ecstatic. If you’re a Philly fan, you’re in a deep depression right about now.

If you’re a marketer, chances are you cared more about the ads. Also, if you’re reading this, you’re probably a marketer, so know that we feature a few of our favorites down below, based on the verticals marketers named as best suited for the Big Game.

Our Peeks poll found that more marketers are watching for the ads. Clearly most marketers are “always on” and see the opportunity to view the top-crop of TV ads as a must-see.

Since marketers are a savvy bunch, we also wanted to gauge their opinion on the business side of Big Game ads. We were eager to see who marketers believe really benefit the most from those ads, which have become as big a cultural institution as the football itself.

It’s a Seller’s Market

The price tag for an ad run during the game was around $7 million dollars. Whether that cost is truly worth it for every brand is a common debate (more on that later). So that begs the question: who really gets the most out of running those ads?

The viewers who get to enjoy top-tier ad creative?
The advertisers who reach millions of viewers?


Turns out marketers see this as a seller’s market. They named the TV network (45%), FOX this year, and the NFL (24%) as top beneficiaries of the hype and attention of all those ads. While our graph shows advertisers tying it up at 24%, the league gets the tie breaker by being a few slivers of a percentage point higher in our results.

Based on the responses, 76% of those polled don’t think the advertisers are getting the most out of these ads. That’s…not great. Clearly that $7M price tag is looming large for many folks. To be fair, our respondents aren’t privy to the performance reporting that advertisers will be reviewing in the wake of the game. But if our respondents are oddsmakers, they aren’t giving those brands much of a chance at being the real winners here.

With only 7% saying viewers get the most out of the ads, it’s kind of a bummer to see the magic of the user experience not getting much recognition. It’s also somewhat reflective of the scattershot, hit-or-miss vibe of some of the ads this year and year’s past. For every memorable Big Game ad, there are many that have faded into obscurity.

Who Should be Buying Big Game Ad Slots?

So if you’re going to drop millions on an ad, what type of brand should you be working for? If you said B2B, well, not many of your peers agree with you.

Oh, you didn’t say B2B. You said “Beer.” Well then yes, you are very much on the money.

Beer ads are synonymous with the Big Game, for obvious reasons. A rich history of memorable ads for the beer and spirits industry led our respondents to name it as the top industry. This year’s entries were star studded, but the one that stood out combined fight choreography and a surprising amount of beer brands in one ad.

Interestingly, our respondents saw the TV network reaping the benefits of playing the role of advertiser as well. With a chance to promote their own content to millions of viewers, marketers believe it’s quite the coup to land the broadcasting rights for the Big Game.

Ads for chips, candy and snacks actually ranked pretty well in a previous Peeks poll where we asked folks about the most effective TV ads they’ve ever seen. So it’s no surprise it polled third in our list.

Moving further down the rankings, soft drink ads were actually pretty few and far between this year. But even in a crowded field, this Pepsi ad from Ben Stiller would have been a standout. Playing with the idea of actors endorsing products (which is a theme MNTN is familiar with), the ad challenges viewers to discover things for themselves.

Car companies only garnered 41% of the responses, but put in a very good showing this year. There were a half dozen auto ads served during the game. The quality was high as well; this GM ad, featuring Will Ferrell taking a driving tour of a few of Netflix’s hit series, has landed on more than a few of the “best ads” lists for this year.

B2B ads brought up the rear in our poll. But this year’s entry from Workday may have changed some minds. Featuring seemingly every rock star alive, the HR and finance platform’s ad has real-life rockers reclaiming the term “rock star” from the corporate world. The fact is, they say, Workday does in fact make corporate employees great at their job. But it doesn’t make them a rock star.

Subscribe to the MNTN Research Weekly

Sign up to receive a weekly feed of curated research, sent straight to your inbox.