How Many Super Bowl Ads Did You See from Financial Services Companies?

MEDICIFounder and Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

Hope you had a good Super Bowl Sunday! The game was amazing, but what stood out was the general disappointment in the commercials area. At LTP, we were hoping to see ads by lots of financial service firms. In fact, there was only one - the one ad by Discover, and if you consider allied industries, then there were 3 to 4 ads including those by insurance companies and TurboTax. And the only time payments was actually mentioned was in a McDonalds’ ad where they showed a new way to pay through selfies and hugs. Underwhelming indeed! So, we wanted the answer as to why there weren't more ads by financial service companies during the Super Bowl.

The first thing was to compare ad spending of this sector with other sectors as shown in the table below:

Retail 16468
Auto Marketers 8892
Personal-Care Brands 6930
Restaurants 6111
Wireless 5330
Insurance 5039
Credit Cards 2162
Beverage Brands 1766

Source: Advertising Age

Note: table highlights updated data as of 2012.

If you look at the credit card category itself, it is a huge ad budget. Then there are other companies as well, so we were confused as to why only one ad during the game yesterday.

Considering the top ad spenders in each of the categories, we see that some companies have a dedicated presence in Super Bowl ads: among auto makers: Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and Chevrolet have published some ads; among wireless companies, T-Mobile, Sprint have put up ads; among restaurants, the fast food giant McDonalds’; among beverage brands, Coca-Cola and Budweiser have always made a presence. There was a show of strength from all these brands at the Super Bowl. But what we see lacking is the presence of financial service companies in the Super Bowl ad space. There were 3-4 ads by insurance companies such as Esurance, Nationwide, Geico. Among payments companies, only Discover, a Credit Card company, posted a single ad. See the appendix below for list of companies who advertised in Super Bowl XLIX.

So, is the Super Bowl not a focus for financial services companies?

Maybe it’s prudent as it costs $4.5 million for a 30 seconds spot. Payments companies might be skeptical of such high rates. We also looked at the breakup, by company, as to how much they spent within the credit card group. This is highlighted in the illustration below:



It seems that financial services companies are ready to spend money on advertising but in different formats and employ media that may seem fit for the kind of promotion they wish to do. As per an “Ad Age Insights” report on “Financial Services Marketing”, the following illustration highlights the focus of financial services companies when it comes to choosing the medium of advertising:


Financial services companies clearly focus prominently on all major advertising media from outdoor to Network TV. Compared to the $2.2 billion that financial services companies are spending on Ads, Beverage companies are spending $1.8 billion which is less than that of financial service companies. Automobile companies are spending almost $9 billion but it’s still in the same order of magnitude as that of financial services companies. So, if car companies and beverage companies are making their presence felt at the Super Bowl, why is it that financial service companies are not into Super Bowl Ads?

McDonalds’, being the only retailer, did highlight a “new form of payments system” in its new ad yesterday. The new payment practice showed selfies and hugs - definite signs of the power of the sharing economy.

Appendix: (current list of companies having published a Super Bowl ad)

  1. Toyota
  2. TurboTax (Financial Services and Allied Industries)
  3. Game of War (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon)
  4. “Tomorrowland” Disney Pictures (URL)
  5. BMW
  6. “Minions”
  7. Snickers
  8. Carnival Cruises (URL)
  9. Skittles
  10. Lexus
  11. T-Mobile
  12. Budweiser
  13. Nationwide (Financial Services and Allied Industries)
  14. Terminator Genisys
  15. Coca-Cola
  16. Avocados From Mexico
  17. “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” Universal Pictures
  18. Dove Care+Men
  19. Nationwide (Financial Services and Allied Industries)
  20. Doritos
  21. Nissan
  22. Weight Watchers
  23. WeatherTech
  24. McDonalds (Ad mentioning about a new way to PAY)
  25. Esurance (Financial Services and Allied Industries)
  26. Fiat Chrysler
  27. GoDaddy
  28. Discover Card (Financial Services)
  29. Microsoft:
  30. Squarespace
  31. org
  32. Toyota
  33. “Pitch Perfect2″ (Facebook, Snapchat)
  34. Always
  35. Geico (Financial Services and Allied Industries)
  36. Skechers
  37. Clash of Clans
  38. Sprint
  39. Lexus
  40. Microsoft
  41. Dodge
  42. Kia
  43. Jublia
  44. T-Mobile
  45. Budweiser
  46. Jeep
  47. “Ted 2″
  48. Mophie
  49. Loctite
  50. Bud Light
  51. Mercedes
  52. “50 Shades of Grey”
  53. Doritos
  54. com
  55. Victoria’s Secret
  56. Heroes Charge (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon)

Amit Goel

MEDICIFounder and Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

Amit Goel is the Founder & Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer for MEDICI. Amit’s vision is to build a strong FinTech market network that involves financial institutions, banks, startups, investors, analysts & other key stakeholders across the ecosystem – helping each one of them in a meaningful way by removing the asymmetry of information and providing a platform to engage & transact.

Amit is passionate about bringing actionable FinTech-focused insights, innovative products & services for the FinTech ecosystem. Some of his work involves startup scores, bank scores/assessments, predictive viewpoints & other innovations that have helped MEDICI’s customers and the ecosystem. He has been named amongst the Top 100 FinTech thought leaders/influencers in the world & Top 10 in Asia multiple times by reputed agencies, consulting firms as well as financial institutions. Amit has built MEDICI (formerly LTP) as a new-age, tech-enabled advisory/research firm, which is now considered the #1 global research & innovation platform for FinTech in the world.

Amit has been writing pioneering viewpoints on financial technology space that have been ahead of the curve since 2010. His data-driven predictions have helped the customers as well as the ecosystem. His past work experience includes a strong background in strategy & market analysis and advisory to clients (from big business houses to Fortune 500 firms) in payments, commerce, financial services & IT/technology. In the past, Amit had also founded a successful consulting & research practice called GrowthPraxis and has worked at Boston Analytics, Frost & Sullivan, and Daimler Chrysler in strategy & research.