Is the Super Bowl all it’s hyped up to be?

Throughout the years, the Super Bowl has become both an advertiser’s dream as well as it’s worst nightmare. The Super Bowl has become America’s most watched yearly event getting an average of 106.5 million viewers, according to ESPN. When many of these viewers started watching the Super Bowl just for the commercials, the big companies who are paying the big bucks have something to prove. When I was younger, I could care less about the actual game and only watched it for the commercials and the half-time show. Now, since being at Elon and attending football games here, I can appreciate the actual game more, even if I don’t really know that history of the teams who are playing. Though, I have to admit, I tend to make my bathroom trips during the game rather than the commercials – those are too important to miss!

Why do American’s think this way and how did the Super Bowl claim it’s hyped up fame? Have a listen to this quick history of the Super Bowl commericals:

As Hank Green said, it all started when the first Super Bowl was broadcast in 1967. During the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, NBC charged $37,500 for a 30 second time slot. Compare that to the $3 million estimated for the cost of Super Bowl ads today. Two of the most prominent provokers of the Super Bowl advertising industry were Farrah Fawcett’s 1973 Noxema commercial and Apple’s 1984 tribute to George Orwell’s book 1984.

Fawcett’s commercial with Joe Namath was the sleaziest commercial that the Super Bowl had ever seen up to that point. It was so sleazy that it bordered pornographic. From then on people half expected this kind of horrific culture of sexual Super Bowl advertising to occur.

Why does sexual advertising work? Bruce Horovitz of USA Today writes that, “sexual imagery in Super Bowl advertising is becoming about as common as sand in the Sahara.” For the audience that is majority male, ads that are sexually appealing catch their attention especially, as’s founder Bob Parsons points out, when they are intoxicated.

Then we turn to the half-time show. Remember Janet Jackson’s infamous 2004 exposed breast? So does everyone else and that’s why they keep coming back for more. In this technological savvy time, everyone is looking for something new and exciting to entertain themselves. If sexual advertisements and raunchy half-time shows are what they have been getting with the Super Bowl previously then that is what they will expect and it’s the only thing that will keep viewers coming back for more.

In my opinion, the Super Bowl has become an excuse for commercialism to take over the minds of the viewers and for the media/celebrities to pull publicity stunts just to get noticed. And even though I hate it, I’m still drawn to watch those hyped up advertisements and highly publicized half-time show every year waiting for something scandalous to occur.


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