Super Bowl ads can show us where the economy is going
The Future. With 30-second spots that cost $7 million, Super Bowl ads are the most expensive ad placements in the US, and companies only buy them if they expect to scale way up — meaning, companies in bubbles. Consequently, Super Bowl ads could be used as a (loose) indicator of what’s about to crash.
Ups and downs
The history of recent bubbles is surprisingly intertwined with Super Bowl ad themes.
- The 2000 Super Bowl featured ads from 14 dot-com companies. The next year, the bubble popped, and the software industry couldn’t afford spots.
- Crypto met the same fate. Last year, so many crypto firms ran Super Bowl ads that some called it the Crypto Bowl — but this year, following a crypto crash and the implosion of FTX, there was only one crypto ad.
- This year saw a return to classics like beer, snacks, and cars, turning away from the pandemic-era shift to digital goods. The only major new player on the scene? Electric vehicles.
Fumble or touchdown?
One might guess from the uptick in EV ads that electric cars are in a bubble of their own, and they might be right.
But bubbles like these might point to a resurgence in the long term. The dot-com bubble popped but then gave way to the software boom of the 2010s; the crypto bubble might give way, in time, to widespread adoption of cryptocurrency. Some Hail Marys get caught.