The Kansas City Chiefs enter Sunday’s Super Bowl having already won, as far as commercials go.
Over the past year, star players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, along with coach Andy Reid, have been unmissable for viewers. When changing channels, you may find Mr. Kelce exposing his arm. for a Pfizer Covid-19 shot, Mr. Mahomes shouting in support of a State Farm promotion or Mr. Reid coveting some chicken “nuggies.”
During this National Football League season, companies featured Mr. Mahomes in 19 advertisements, Mr. Kelce in 10 and Mr. Reid in four. The estimated amount spent to air the ads on television was $178 million for Mahomes, $120 million for Kelce and $69 million for Reid, according to iSpot.tv, an ad measurement company. Those are the highest numbers for any sports figure. Because there were several commercials in which at least two of the three appeared, the dollar totals overlap to some extent.
“Brands invested to make Chiefs-themed ads hard to miss,” said Cassandra Arora, chief marketing officer at iSpot, which estimates an ad’s spend based on the market rate of how much they have to pay. companies to broadcast commercials on television. . Basically, the more you spend on an ad, the more viewers see it.
By comparison, Deion Sanders, the former NFL star who coaches the University of Colorado football team, and Nick Saban, the recently retired University of Alabama football coach, each appeared in ads worth about 20 million dollars during the same period. San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey appeared in ads worth $46 million, while 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy appeared in an advertisement: for Toyota – worth just $67,000.
A few factors explain the Three Bosses’ marketing blitz: consistent success, insurance companies’ marketing budgets, and, of course, Taylor Swift.
Companies capitalized on Mahomes’ prodigious talent starting in his sophomore season in 2018, in which he threw 50 touchdowns. He flaunted his hair in a Head and Shoulders ad; he was alongside Aaron Rodgers, then quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, in a State Farm commercial; and promoted Amazon Web Services’ elegant football analytics. In 2022, after winning a Super Bowl and an MVP award, advertising spending on the 21 commercials starring Mahomes was $164 million, more than those of basketball stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry combined.
Kelce appeared in some low-profile commercials and Reid occasionally joined Mahomes in commercials. But a second Super Bowl win last year and a relationship with a celebrity changed things immensely, particularly for Kelce.
Since the start of the 2023 NFL season, when Kelce began his high-profile relationship with global music superstar Swift, the Chiefs have reached a new level of ubiquity. Thanks in large part to Swift’s appearances at Kansas City games, more women are watching the NFL, and specifically the Chiefs, said Kim Whitler, a business professor at the University of Virginia business school.
“There’s an incredible new interest in these players, and part of it is they’re bringing in this new group of people who were never interested in the NFL,” Ms. Whitler said.
His commercial appearances increased accordingly. Reid appeared in four commercials in the 2023 season, compared to just one the previous season. Kelce made the same number of ads as in 2022 (six), but her spending increase, from $895,000 to $120 million, was the largest. (It’s unclear if any of the three will appear in a Super Bowl ad this year.)
They were compensated handsomely. Mahomes earns approximately $20 million from his endorsement deals, according to Forbes, in addition to the more than 50 million dollars which the Chiefs pay him annually. Kelce receives about $5 million from his deals, in addition to the approximately $14 million a year he is paid to play football. It is unknown how much Reid earns from his commercial appearances, although it is estimated that his annual salary as his coach is at least $10 million.
The places were diverse. In addition to her Pfizer ad, Kelce appeared in ads for Campbell’s Soup, Subway, State Farm, Lowe’s and the credit reporting company Experian.
Kelce’s star was well-established in football and growing outside of it, boosted by that second Super Bowl victory last February and his “Saturday Night Live” appearance the following month. Companies already had Kelce on their list of celebrities who could boost engagement for their brands, said Jason Damata, a media consultant. But after he started dating Ms. Swift, Mr. Kelce jumped the line.
“When it hit the zeitgeist, they were prepared to focus their investment and reap the cultural and commercial rewards,” Damata said of the companies that partnered with Kelce.
The investment in the Chiefs began in 2019 when Mahomes joined Rodgers, a veteran pitcher from State Farm. Large insurance companies like State Farm, GEICO, and Progressive collectively spend billions of dollars annually on advertising. In 2022, State Farm spent $125 million, or more than two-thirds of its estimated advertising spend during the NFL season, on commercials featuring Kansas City players; This season, State Farm has spent $130 million, or a little more than 70 percent of its season spending.
Linda Lee, marketing director for Campbell’s food and beverage division, said her company had started thinking about working with Kelce after last year’s Super Bowl, in which he faced his brother Jason and the Philadelphia Eagles.
But he couldn’t have predicted that making an announcement with the Kelce brothers, along with their mother, before the 2023 season would be followed by such a meteoric rise in Travis’ fame. Since the ad launched, Lee said, the company has gotten four times the normal engagement on TikTok with its Chunky products.
“There was a bit of good luck in the selection of this family,” Ms Lee said.