Spending $5 million for one televison commercial may sound expensive but Super Bowl advertisers are hoping their investment creates a buzz that lasts much longer than a 30 second spot, says a Virginia Tech marketing expert.

“Big brands all vie for the same opportunity - making the biggest impact and trending well beyond the actual game,” said Donna Wertalik, Director of Marketing for the Pamplin College of Business. “It's all about the ‘show’ and a brand gaining the largest share of voice and engaging consumers. It's a chance for a brand to extend their content to make the media list of ‘the best’ or ‘most outrageous’ that often results in brand awareness and discussions for months to come in a variety of different media and analysis platforms.”

A Super Bowl commercial is likely just the beginning of a larger multimedia campaign, said Wertalik, who is also an assistant professor of practice.

“It is included within an integrated marketing campaign and theme for each brand. It allows them to showcase the breadth and depth of their brand and uniquely engages consumers in different ways,” she said.

Television’s most-watched event (100 million viewers) far outpaces any other broadcast program. This year’s Super Bowl advertising total is projected to top $500 million. For many viewers, Super Bowl advertising is bigger than the game itself.


  • “Commercials are an opportunity to develop a brand's narrative and then extend the content into the digital space for months to come.”
  • “For consumers, they have been conditioned to look forward to the commercials and the media extends this interest by allowing previews of commercials prior to them being aired, to capture the consumer and have them invested in seeing the outcome.”
  • “Many ads are so clever, but in terms of ad recall, very few impact sales. This has been proven and last year it was noted that Super Bowl ads are, to some extent, simply an expensive vanity project for wealthy companies.”

Wertalik Background

To secure a print or broadcast interview with Donna Wertalik, contact Bill Foy by email at [email protected]; or by phone at 540-998-0288 or 540-231-8719.

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