By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year, 30-second commercials for the Super Bowl will cost around $5.5 million. That’s compared to $42,000 for a spot during the first Super Bowl in 1967. So, how did these ads get so big? Good Question.

In 2016, 111-million people watched Super Bowl 50, according to Nielsen. Of the top 10 most watched television events in U.S. history, Super Bowl broadcasts take nine of the spots. (The finale of the M*A*S*H* takes the eighth.)

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“The Super Bowl viewers span all ages, races and genders,” says Mike Caguin, the chief creative officer at Colle + McVoy, an advertising agency that’s created three regional Super Bowl ads this year. “If you have a product that’s appealing to all those markets and you break through, it’s worth that investment.”

The first Super Bowl was in 1967, but the first ad really produced for the event was a 1973 Noxzema commercial that starred Joe Namath and Farrah Fawcett. By 1980, when Coca-Cola’s Mean Joe Green commercial aired, a 30-second spot was worth $220-thousand.

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“Really from an advertisers standpoint, the inflection point was Apple’s 1984,” says Caguin. “That’s when people stopped dead in their tracks and said, wow, something incredible happened. I don’t know what that was, but I am suddenly paying more attention than I ever was to commercials.”

Spots hit the $1-million mark in 1995 and have increased 75 percent in the past 10 years. In 2011, companies began to release the commercials online before they aired on TV. This year, Snickers will produce the first live Super Bowl ad.

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“Marketers are trying to find ways to disrupt this world we live in because it’s becoming harder and harder to get attention and stand out,” says Caguin.

Heather Brown