When fewer people watch the Super Bowl on TV, will the ads survive?

For over half a century, the Super Bowl has drawn millions of Americans into living rooms and sports bars to eat, drink, take in the halftime show and watch the nation’s top football teams duke it out. With eyeballs glued to the TV screen, it’s no surprise that advertisers have been taking advantage of viewers’ undivided attention — and hopefully wallets — on game day. Since 2003, advertisers have consistently spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertisements that have emerged as cultural phenomena in their own right.

But in the last two years, advertisers spent less on Super Bowl advertisements than they had in previous years. To understand this trend, we turned to data on game viewership and time spent watching only Super Bowl advertisements on YouTube. Here’s our take on the pattern — as told through Legos.


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