Even before the Super Bowl 51 matchup is set, we have some idea who will be appearing on Fox during Super Bowl Sunday.
From 2007 through 2016, the Super Bowl game has generated $2.59 billion of network advertising sales from more than 130 marketers, according to Kantar Media. The average rate for a 30-second advertisement in the Super Bowl game has increased by 76% during the past decade and reached $4.8 million in 2016. It's easily the costliest commercial time on television, with the 2016 runner up -- the NFC Championship Game -- costing just $2.2 million per 30 seconds. That price is up to $5 million for Super Bowl commercials in 2017.
The amount of ad time is also increasing. The past seven Super Bowls have dedicated the most time to ads in history, with each containing more than 47 minutes of commercials. While the number of commercials actually dropped from 84 in 2009 to 82 last year, the amount of time it takes to air them jumped from 45 minutes in 2009 to more than 49 in 2016 -- peaking at more than 51 minutes in 2013. With 17 ads of a minute or more making up more than a quarter all Super Bowl ads in 2016, the number of those feature-length ads has doubled since 2011.
Why? Because it's the one event where U.S. consumers are almost guaranteed to watch commercials. With Super Bowl television audiences topping 110 million in recent years and the $370 million in Super Bowl ad spending in 2016 trailing only a seven-game World Series between the long-suffering Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians ($394 million over seven games) and outpacing the NBA Finals ($303 million over seven games), a Super Bowl ad is a one-game sure thing.
However, a few companies have been more willing to shell out for them than others. With help from Kantar Media, we looked back at last year's Super Bowl ads and found seven companies whose spending made them the reigning Super Bowl champions:
3. A Four-Way Tie: Valeant Pharmaceutical, Toyota, Honda and Deutche Telekom (T-Mobile)
2016 Super Bowl spending: $14.4 million each
Did mobile companies realize that U.S. consumers really didn't care about how mad they were at Verizon's rolling-ball commercial? Apparently not, as T-Mobile blew $4.4 million to bring in Steve Harvey for a tired joke about an even more tired premise. At least they gave us a one-minute answer to the question "which mobile provider will co-opt Drake's 'Hotline Bling' first?"
Valeant, meanwhile, felt it was urgent that they tell an audience parked in front of a resolution-breaking Super Bowl spread about irritable bowl syndrome with diarrhea with as long a commercial as possible. At least, the company tried to rein in the toenail fungus spot.
As for Honda and Toyota, well they weren't going to just sit back and let official NFL auto sponsor Hyundai have all the fun. In fact, Hyundai is going to be ambushed by a whole lot of other automakers this year. That's no surprise, as last year's nine car ads made up 23% of all Super Bowl ad spending.
2. A Two-Way Tie: Fiat Chrysler and Pepsico
2016 Super Bowl spending: $19.2 million each
Since the recession, its bankruptcy, a bailout and then a buyout by Fiat, Chrysler has turned to the Super Bowl for help.
It brought in U.S. icons to make Chrysler seem like a vital American brand, it used sex and stereotype to try to make people forget Fiat's old stateside acronym (Fix It Again, Tony). Last year, however, it was all about the Jeep brand. Fiat Chrysler knows it's a long road back into Americans' hearts, and it's willing to pave that road in cash.
Pepsico, meanwhile, spent $172 million on Super Bowl ads from 2009 to 2015 and has done some of its best work on the Super Bowl's halftime show. With help from Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and, to a lesser extent, Coldplay, it's pretty much wiped the less-than-a-second image of Janet Jackson's nipple out of television viewers' fragile little minds. While they're scrapping their annual Doritos "Crash The Super Bowl" make-your-own-ad campaign, they're bringing Lady Gaga to the halftime stage for 2017.
1. Anheuser-Busch InBev
2016 Super Bowl spending: $33.6 million
That's the cost of Super Bowl exclusivity. Already paying more than $1 billion for a league sponsorship through 2020, it pays about $10 million a year more than anyone to have the Super Bowl's beer category all to itself and has held that monopoly since 1988. That's why the closest thing you'll see to a craft beer ad in the Super Bowl was last year's Shock Top ad and why this year -- despite the fact that A-B now owns Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Breckenridge, Four Peaks and Karabach -- you're still going to get ads for Busch. During the Super Bowl, you'll care about the beer A-B tells you to care about.