Americans are excited for the Super Bowl (and the ads) again

With ratings high, brands can expect to get good value for their airtime spend on TV’s biggest day

The author(s)
  • Ben Meyerson Director of External Communications
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Excitement is up for the Super Bowl this year, with a majority of Americans (57%) saying they’re as excited as they were for last year’s game – if not more, according to the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker. And many will be watching even if they don’t care about what’s happening on the field: One in three people say they’re more interested in the ads than the game itself.

Even though this year’s Super Bowl may not have the same striking storyline on the field as last year’s matchup between all-time greats, interest in football has been significantly higher this year: The NFL says TV ratings for the playoffs this year are higher than they’ve been in more than half a decade.

"With interest so high in the game, advertisers get a rare 'free pass' from having to capture attention in the first place," said Rachel Rodgers, a senior vice president in Ipsos’ Creative Excellence service line. "Consumers are primed and ready to watch ads, so brands that can turn that interest into branded memories are really getting a lot of value out of their airtime spend."

Interest in advertising is broad: 42% of Americans say they’re “excited” for Super Bowl ads – an emotion rarely associated with advertisements in any other context. And more than one in three people (36%) say they’re more excited about the ads than the game itself.

  • While excitement for ads is nearly equal between women and men (41% vs. 44%, respectively), women are more likely to say they’re more interested in the ads than the game (40% vs. 32%).
  • Older Americans are far less likely to say they’re more interested in the ads: Only 26% of those over 55 say this, compared to 43% of 35- to 54-year-olds and 40% of 18- to 34-year-olds.
  • The number of people overall who say they’re excited for ads is up 5 percentage points from last year, when 37% said they were excited.

Despite rapidly falling coronavirus cases in the U.S., the game is still occurring amid a pandemic. Two in five Americans (42%) expect ads to acknowledge the pandemic and today’s situation, down significantly from last year when more than half (57%) said the same. People don’t expect all the ads to focus on COVID – 56% they expect other topics to be addressed as well, the same percentage as last year.

  • Democrats feel much more strongly that ads should acknowledge the pandemic – 51% of Democrats believe this, compared to 35% of Republicans and 33% of independents.
  • But there’s little divide between parties on whether they expect ads to also focus on other topics: 59% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans believe this, with independents close behind at 49%.

And there’s still a small but sizable portion of Americans who believe there shouldn’t be any in-person fans at the Super Bowl this year – one in four (25%) believe this, though that’s down from 41% last year.

So which ads will resonate with the biggest TV audience of the year – and how will the ads make people feel? Ipsos will be monitoring that in real time using live biometric monitoring, through a partnership with IVP Research Labs, Schlesinger Group and Shimmer Research. Check back after the game to learn the results.

The author(s)
  • Ben Meyerson Director of External Communications

Media & Brand Communication