SOURCE: Horizon Media

January 30, 2015 12:48 ET

Horizon Media Study Finds That Advertising Drives Almost Half of All Super Bowl Tune-In

58% Say They Watch the Big Game Because "I'm a Football Fan," but 47% Say They Watch for the Commercials

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - January 30, 2015) - According to Horizon Media's latest Finger on the Pulse research around the Super Bowl, the big game is still the place to be for advertisers. When asked which professional sporting championships advertisers should be a part of "in order to be relevant," more than eight in ten (84%) chose the Super Bowl. The study finds that more than half of all respondents (58%) say they watch the Super Bowl because "I'm a football fan." But nearly as many (47%) say they watch for the commercials. Women are even more likely to say they watch for the ads (52% of women vs. 41% of men).

"It's clear support for why advertisers continue to make big investments in the Super Bowl," said Kirk Olson, VP of TrendSights at Horizon Media. "On top of the enormous reach, Americans still very much believe in the event as a sports and advertising tradition."

Compared to last year, slightly fewer people are pumped up for the big game. 55% of American adults participating in the research plan to watch the Super Bowl this year, compared to 63% in Horizon Media's survey in 2014. That said, men and Millennials are as excited as ever with 69% of men planning to watch the game this year (vs. 46% of women) and 63% of 18-34 year olds planning to watch this year (compared to 51% of 35-49 year olds and 54% of 50-64 year olds).

Sociability, talkability, and advertising dominate the reasons why the Super Bowl is still such a draw. When asked to explain why the Super Bowl is so important: 82% agreed that "It's the event people gather to watch in groups," 79% agreed that "people talk about it a lot during and/or after," and a whopping 78% said "It's the event with the best ads."

"Advertisers have changed their approach to the event," continues Olson. "For example, early releases of spots online show they treat it less like an opportunity to 'premiere' a new ad. Today, it's even more of an opportunity to get people talking. It only makes sense to get them talking early and across media channels."

The study finds that this year, even more people will watch with mobile devices in hand; more will also use social media. Compared to study findings last year, more people say they will use their mobile devices while watching the game. Intent to use smartphones is up to two percentage points (27% this year vs. 25% last year) and tablets are up by the same margin (14% this year vs. 12% last year). This year, a full third (33%) say they will use social media while they watch the game, compared to 26% last year.

"Mobile and social usage is great news for advertisers who didn't invest in a 30 or 60 second spot because they can use other media channels to join the party," says Sarah Bachman, VP of Mobile Strategy at Horizon Media. "With so many Super Bowl viewers saying they'll have a mobile screen in hand, the big screen won't be the only way to get an advertising message across."

For most people, the game is a watch-at-home, family affair with 86% of respondents planning to watch the game in their own home. 49% of respondents will watch the big game with their spouse/significant other and 45% will watch with other family. But men and Millennials are more likely to make it a party. Millennials are twice as likely as other age groups to say they'll watch the game at a friend's house: 19% of 18-34 year olds say they will compared to 7% of 35-49 year olds and 9% of 50-64 year olds. Men are more than twice as likely as women to say they'll watch the game at a friend's house: 32% of men say they will, compared to 14% of women. Millennials are also more likely to say they'll buy food and drinks for the game: 55% of 18-34 year olds say they will vs. 45% of 50-64.

"Today more than ever, advertisers can't rely on the 30 second spot alone to deliver the value for their Super Bowl investment," says Olson. "Brands targeting Millennials and men in particular may need even more 'surround sound' to break through the party. If they don't see the TV spot, maybe they'll see your Facebook post or hear radio DJ chatter about your ad the next morning."

Finger on the Pulse is Horizon's proprietary online research community, comprised of 3,000 people reflective of the general U.S. population. The community empowers the agency to connect directly with consumers, diving beneath the surface of beliefs and behaviors to uncover critical insights. 

About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry's leading trade association.

The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere." By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $4.7 billion and over 1000 employees.

The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit

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