Super Bowl LIV

America Speaks: Super Bowl LIV Edition

January 31, 2020

APCO Alumna Samantha Liberman co-authored this piece

A new APCO Insight survey of 1,000 U.S. adults finds most Americans are planning to watch the Super Bowl, with high engagement about the well-hyped commercials and a slight rooting favorite.

The Spectacle That is Super Bowl Sunday

About two in three Americans in our national survey intend to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday. And it’s primarily for the game—the majority of adults express the highest interest in watching the game itself (59%). The pre-game show (46%), commercials (42%) and half-time show (36%) trail in interest and the post-game show (16%) lags far behind.

  • Men are both more likely to watch the game (79% vs. 55%) and more interested in the game itself compared to women (68% vs. 50%)
  • While men are 50% more likely than women to be highly interested in watching the game itself, women are two times more likely than men to be highly interested in the halftime show and watching commercials.
  • Super Bowl viewers also tend to be younger, with 59% of those 55 years old or older planning on watching the game compared to 72% of those between the ages of 18 and 44.

When asked what they do during the commercial breaks, a majority of Americans say they generally watch the commercials (61%), even though only 42% say they are highly interested in them. People are also taking advantage of a break in the action to get food and drinks (53%), use the bathroom (45%), or talk with those with whom they are watching (33%). One in six people say they change the channel at this time.

  • Women and men watch the commercials at the same rate, but women are less likely to take other actions (e., getting food, using the bathroom) during commercial breaks.
  • Adults 45 years of age and older are more likely than those younger to be highly interested in watching the ads.

Let’s Talk About Ads

We asked Americans which known in-game advertisers they hope will have a good commercial. Adults generally have high hopes that beverage and snack brands will produce good ads.

  • Pepsi & Coca Cola are the top brands consumers have high hopes for, with Pepsi slightly outscoring Coke (44% vs. 42%).
  • Budweiser and Bud Light also appear to be highlights of the Super Bowl commercial experience. Budweiser (37%) outscores Bud Light (31%) possibly due to the connection of the Clydesdales with the Budweiser master brand.
  • Notably, this trend does not extend to all beverages, as Mountain Dew (20%) is at about the middle of the pack and Michelob Ultra (10%) comes in near the bottom.
  • Doritos (37%), Snickers (32%) and Cheetos (31%) all score well, likely due to creativity shown in past commercials.
  • Adults are also hopeful for salty snacks Planters (30%) and Pringles (26%).
  • Similar to beverages, Americans’ hope for food commercials is brand-specific, not industry-wide. Pop Tarts (19%), Avocados From Mexico (17%), Little Caesars (16%), Heinz (13%) and Sabra (9%) all score middle to low in American’s expectations.

Generally, Americans are not looking forward to commercials from car or technology companies.

  • Car brands known for being more affordable, such as Hyundai (12%), Volkswagen (12%), and Kia (10%) score fairly low on American expectations.
  • Notably, Audi (24%) and Toyota (21%) fare better.
  • After a 23-year absence, hopes for Porsche (14%) are middle-of-the-road.
  • Technology companies universally score near the bottom, with Squarespace coming in last among all brands evaluated (5%).

Who You Rooting For?

Proving the Super Bowl transcends team loyalties, adults planning to watch the game split equally among fans of the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and other teams.

Among those who plan to watch the game, 64% wanted the Chiefs to win but only 54% thought the Chiefs will do so.

  • More than seven in 10 Chiefs and 49ers fans think their team will win.
  • Interestingly, 95% of Chiefs fans want their team to win compared to 66% of 49ers fans, suggesting a more loyal fan base for Kansas City.

It’s good to be a quarterback – when asked who they believe will be named the game’s MVP, 16% select Patrick Mahomes while 9% say Jimmy Garoppolo. Nick Bosa is the only other player to gather significant votes (8%) among the stars listed. Fully, four in 10 Americans say they have no idea who will be the MVP.

Americans may be feeling a bit of New England fatigue—60% say it’s a “good thing” the Patriots aren’t in the Super Bowl this year (while 7% of U.S. adults think it’s a bad thing that Pats aren’t in the game, 35% of New England residents feel this way).

Overall, we are rooting for a good, close and entertaining game. Importantly, we are also hoping for at least a few advertisers to show us what they stand for and champion their stakeholders. To see if any make the cut, check back on Monday.

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