It is one of the biggest televised events of the year, attracting more than a 100 million engaged viewers. It is no wonder that corporates are willing to shell out millions to grab 30 seconds of exposure of their products and services during this highly watched televised event.

CBS is charging AU$7.05 million (US$5 million) for a 30-second advertising slot during the big game for the Super Bowl 50 telecast, an 8.7 percent increase over the last year, reports There has been a 12,500 percent rise in the cost of advertising since the first Super Bowl took place in 1967. Overall, the advertising cost during Super Bowl has increased 5.8 times than the stock market over the years.

WPP’s research business Kantar Media projects that CBS could win more than AU$563.80 million (US$400 million) just in ad revenues in just 50 minutes of ad times, explains Sydney Morning Herald. This is in contrast to the 1967 ad rates. In the first year, a 30-second ad slot during Super Bowl cost a paltry sum of AU$52,857 (US$37,500). That increased to AU$3.5 million (US$2.5 million) in 2006 and to AU$7.05 million (US$5 million) this year. Sydney Morning Herald reports that on an average, companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev (Budweiser), Pepsi and Coca Cola have spent more than AU$140.96 million (US$100 million) each on Super Bowl ads air time.

So what is it about the Super Bowl that advertisers are willing to splurge? For starters, it is just not about the game. Ads are a big draw too. Michigan State University Professor Bob Kolt explained to CBS Detroit that the event is like an Oscars of advertising. “It’s the biggest night of the year and Madison Avenue puts on their best spot,” said Professor Kolt.

Anthony Gregorio, chief executive of Havas Worldwide group agreed. “It’s kind of like the Oscars of advertising in a way, you get this amazing convergence of sporting spectacle, audience and quality advertising at one point in the year,” said Gregorio, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

“I think it has become an institution. For the advertiser, you get this amazing reach and audience focus. It’s now known as a place where people spend an inordinate amount of time and money creating this amazing entertainment,” he added.

In addition to the mega viewership, creative and wacky ads also get a chance to go viral, thereby gaining themselves some million more views online. Additionally, there are a number of news agencies who write about them. This has resulted in companies creating bigger, wackier and interesting ads to pull in more viewers, thereby making half time advertising is its own event. Professor Kolt opines that there is a sizable chunk out of the total viewers, who are always more interested in the ads than the game itself.

As a result and as a new marketing strategy, many companies have released pre-game ads to gain traction with media outlets. In fact some news titles have already written about them, helping them in their objective to go viral eventually. One example is Anheuser-Busch InBev’s one minute drink driving safety ad for Budweiser. The ad features actress Helen Mirren as a notoriously frank and uncensored British lady, and has already gained more than 3.5 million views on YouTube.

“People actually love to see the ads, they’re waiting to see who is going to do the coolest ad. The great thing about Super Bowl is that it’s the ultimate canvas for agencies and clients to do something really engaging with this massive audience,” Gregorio signed off.