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3 Advertising Takeaways from Super Bowl LVII: Linear TV Crowned Champion and the Importance of Making Emotional Connections

With more than 113 million viewers tuning into Super Bowl LVII, TEGNA’s SVP Tim Fagan, and Senior Manager of Consumer Insights Tom Charno are sharing what we can learn from this massive audience, the emotional nature of the ads, and how brands can turn these takeaways into results for their bottom line.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: February 17, 2023
3 Advertising Takeaways from Super Bowl LVII: Linear TV Crowned Champion and the Importance of Making Emotional Connections image

Talk about a big game. More than 113 million viewers tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs run past the Philadelphia Eagles, resulting in impressive accolades and broken records. In fact, we’ve never seen Super Bowl ratings this high. Super Bowl LVII is now:  

  • The third most-watched television event in history. Super Bowl LVII has more linear and total viewers (113M) compared to 2022 (+1%, NBC) and 2020 (+11%, FOX). 
  • The most-streamed Super Bowl ever, with an average of 7M streams. This is up +18% vs. 2022 (NBC) and up +103% vs. 2020 (FOX). 
  • The most-streamed event in FOX Sports history and the most-watched non-soccer event in Spanish-language cable history, with 951K viewers on Fox Deportes.  

Meanwhile, Rihanna’s halftime performance found love from 118.7 million total viewers – more than the game itself – making it the second most-viewed halftime show in Super Bowl history.  

“This year’s Super Bowl was a huge win for linear television. This incomparable event is a reminder that linear television can attract tens of millions, and in this case, more than 100 million US consumers, to a single, shared, and emotional experience,” says Tim Fagan, SVP, Chief Revenue Officer at TEGNA.   

Better yet, this emotional and shared experience extends beyond the game and into the advertising world.  

During Rihanna’s performance, you may have noticed that she touched up her makeup using a product from her own Fenty Beauty line. The move led to an 833% increase in Google Searches for “Fenty Beauty” and was the fourth most searched topic of the evening. According to the brand performance tool LaunchMetrics, the move generated $5.6 million in 12 hours for Fenty in media impact value.  

Insights on Super Bowl Ads  

It’s no secret that Super Bowl ads are just as big as the game itself. In fact, a 2021 survey found that 43% of viewers tune into the game just for the commercials, and, as Fagan notes, “Consumers anxiously await the ads throughout the Big Game, and this event provides a platform for brands to showcase their products and services to an engaged and captive audience.”  

Of the 50+ ads aired this year, USA Today’s Ad Meter crowned The Farmer’s Dog as the night’s champion. Much like Google’s emotional Loretta ad that stole the show in 2020, The Farmer’s Dog stirs emotions as we follow Bear, a chocolate lab, as he grows up alongside his owner, Ava, from her childhood to having a child of her own.  

For those who searched “The Farmer’s Dog” after the ad aired, users were greeted on the brand’s website with an enticing offer – 50% off their first order. This further underlines the importance of a multi-screen marketing strategy that includes digital elements.  

“Shrewd marketers utilize their Super Bowl campaigns well beyond the Lombardi Trophy presentation to continue conversations with consumers on digital, social, and streaming platforms,” says Fagan. “It is a story-telling opportunity like no other, which makes it simply the Mecca of marketing opportunities.” 

What Makes The Farmer’s Dog Ad so Powerful?  

“The Farmer’s Dog scored the highest in the USA Today Ad Meter using the power of emotion instead of the power of celebrity,” says Tom Charno, Senior Consumer Insights Strategist at TEGNA. “It shows consumers respond more to brands that try to connect through poignant storytelling instead of flashy cameos.” 

This idea is backed up by research cited in Psychology Today, which shows that an emotional response to an ad will increase purchase intent — “by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials.” Additionally, Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D., also writes 

“A brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer’s mind. If the representation consists only of the product’s attributes, features, and other information, there are no emotional links to influence consumer preference and action. The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user.”

“Local and national advertisers alike would greatly benefit from including these emotional connections and storytelling as part of their strategy,” says Charno. “And with the power of live events and sports in the front row and on the big screen, these brands have a unique opportunity to get in front of large audiences that are tuned in, engaged, and talking about the events – and the commercials they connected or identified with.”  

Big Game, Big Screen, Big Impact 

Linear TV also comes out on top in these live-event situations for advertisers. A 2022 study from MediaScience compared ad recall on TV and streaming versus digital environments – or big screens versus little screens. According to the study, TV has the following advantages:

  • TV ads receive more visual attention. Participants watched 71% of TV ads and only 30% of digital mobile ads.
  • TV ads had higher rankings in creative messaging versus digital mobile ads. 
  • TV gives brands a better first impression. On first exposure, there was 3.4 times better recall for TV ads, leading to a more substantial impact on forming brand memories.  

How to Advertise During Live Events 

Super Bowl LVII illustrates that broadcast television’s power and reach will ensure your brand’s value proposition is front and center for new and previous/existing customers and creates an emotional (and long-term) connection with viewers. The influence of TV also helps advertisers “earn the click” across digital platforms. 

The confetti may have just settled, but the countdown to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas starts now. TEGNA’s 15 CBS Stations – which reach an estimated 14.8 million TV households in the country – will be home to all the edge-of-your-seat excitement in 2024. It’s a massive opportunity to reach target audiences, drive brand awareness, increase search volume and website traffic, and grow your business.

Better yet, you don’t have to spend millions to get an ad spot during the big game, as we offer several advertising and marketing solutions, such as:

  • Research and Analysis. From understanding consumer media habits to custom research, we can partner to help you more effectively connect with your audience.
  • Creative Development. With a team of experienced marketers, TEGNA has helped many brands evolve their brand messaging, creative, and media strategy to help grow their business and reach new and existing customers. For Super Bowl LVIII – and live events taking place before then – we can help create an emotional spot that resonates with your target audience.
  • Content Development. Whether your brand is in need of traditional broadcast spots, native advertising, or long-form digital content, our team of content creators is standing by to put good ideas to work for you.
  • Content Sponsorship. TEGNA has access to some of the most compelling content for your brand to align with. From the Super Bowl to the Olympics and the Emmys to the Oscars, TEGNA can connect your brand to iconic programming and massive audiences. 

About TEGNA 

Super Bowl LVII and its massive audience underline the power and wealth of opportunities that sports and live events present for brand advertisers. Not only do TEGNA’s Linear Broadcast Solutions deliver trusted, high-quality local news and highly-rated network programming to millions every day, but also offer opportunities for partners to reach audiences as diverse as the communities we serve. Align your brand with a trusted local source with national know-how, and connect with the right audience at the right time. Let’s get in touch.

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