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Tran Co-Writes Study on Super Bowl Advertising

While the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will be vying for a Super Bowl title Sunday, the battle between advertisers may be even more contested.

With an average cost of $4 million for a 30-second commercial during this year’s Super Bowl, the cost for advertisers to capture the audience’s attention is steep. But a pair of sport marketing researchers suggest that companies whose commercials appear earlier in the game will have a greater likelihood of brand recognition.

In a study of Super Bowl commercials presented during the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006 games, “the brands advertised during the first quarter were better recognized than those similar situations in the fourth quarter,” according to an article to be published in the upcoming March issue of Sport Marketing Quarterly.

Researchers Yongick Jeong, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University, and Hai Tran​, an assistant professor at DePaul University, examined the effectiveness of ad placement throughout four different Super Bowl broadcasts. What they discovered was that “advertising effectiveness peaks in the earlier game quarters and then gradually decreases as the game progresses.”

Additionally, the researchers examined whether the positioning of blocks of commercials, which they refer to as “pods,” within each quarter also affects a brand’s recognition. They found that the prime pods for maximizing brand recognition were the first and last block of commercials in the first quarter.

“We can predict that placing ads in the first and last commercial breaks of the first quarter would yield the most favorable results if the goal of an advertising campaign is to increase the awareness of brand among sports viewers,” the authors state in the journal article.

The importance of the findings of this research are two-fold. First, advertisers can gain a greater understanding of the most ideal positioning of commercial breaks during the Super Bowl in order to maximize brand awareness. Second, networks may be able to utilize this knowledge in order to increase advertising rates during these prime pods.