For all the incredible sums of money they pour into Super Bowl ads, corporations should expect better results.
A study found that most of those ads (80 percent) don't increase sales. In fact, because the ads often put little focus on the brand itself, viewers are actually less likely than usual to remember the product that was advertised.
These mega-commercials have been called "the equivalent of lighting money on fire" and "an expensive vanity project for wealthy companies." (Although because they can get people to associate the product with athletics, these ads sometimes deliver short-term sales boosts specifically around future sporting events.)
A researcher once found that companies with popular Super Bowl ads get a bounce in the market the next day, but only because of "irrational" assumptions that a good ad may mean good things about the company. But the effect seems to have worn off, he has since said.
Why isn't this tremendous marketing spend leading to topline sales? The biggest reason is that far too many Super Bowl ads aren't built to actually change brand preference—the key to driving sales.