Amazon is getting serious about the Super Bowl this year

Amazon 2018 Super Bowl teaser ad
Amazon 2018 Super Bowl teaser ad
Image: Amazon/Screenshot via YouTube
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Amazon is getting serious about spending in the Super Bowl.

The Seattle-based tech conglomerate plans to run at least two and half minutes of commercials in NBC’s Super Bowl LII broadcast on Sunday (Feb. 4). It will run a 90-second ad for its virtual-assistant Alexa, which was released today, and another 60-second spot for the upcoming Amazon Studios show, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

By Quartz’s back-of-the-envelope calculations, the combined spots would be worth over $25 million, based on the more than $5 million NBC said it was averaging for 30-seconds of ad time in the game. It is possible that Amazon negotiated a better rate.

So far, the only other advertisers to announce that much ad time are Toyota and Anheuser-Busch InBev, by Quartz’s count. The carmaker plans to air two 60-second spots for its namesake brand and third, 30-second ad for Lexus. Beverage giant AB InBev has four minutes of ad time spread across four of its beer brands. (Ad Age has a good break down of all the ads announced so far.)

Not every advertiser has revealed its media buys yet. Parent companies like P&G and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) have been hefty spenders in years past, and could show up big to the game this year, too. Generally, the trend for the past two years has been that more parents companies are dividing the ad time in the game, Kantar Media found, which suggests that fewer buying in bulk.

Amazon made its Super Bowl debut in 2016 with an ad for the Amazon Echo starring celebrities Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, Jason Schwartzman, and Missy Elliot. The company spent $7.2 billion, or 5% of its total revenue, on advertising that year.

It returned to the game with three 10-second vignettes for the Amazon Echo in 2017.

This year, Amazon may be reaching deeper into its pockets because there’s more competition in two of its key categories. Its Alexa-enabled Echo devices no longer have a lock on the smart-speaker market with competition from Google Home and the Apple HomePod, due out later this month. Amazon’s Alexa Super Bowl spot will explore whether the voice-assistant is replaceable. Meanwhile, Amazon Studios has been looking for its Game of Thrones, or shows that speak to broader audiences, to carve out a space for itself among Netflix, Hulu (which is also advertising in the game), and the laundry list of other streaming services out there. It won’t find a much broader audience than the Super Bowl’s. Netflix had one of the most talked about commercials in the game last year when it premiered the trailer for Stranger Things season two. Amazon may be hoping to replicate that with its ad for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

Update (10am ET): This post was updated to include the full Alexa commercial Amazon will air in the Super Bowl, which was released after publication. It features artist Cardi B, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, actress Rebel Wilson, and actor Anthony Hopkins each trying, and failing, to replace Alexa.