Collage of Super Bowl CommercialsBrands spent a record $5 million dollars to run a 30-second commercial in this year’s Super Bowl – up over 10 percent from last year’s asking price. Is it worth it?

The simple answer is…well, there is no simple answer. It depends who you ask. Yes, we’ve seen the math that suggests how much total advertising you could buy for the price of just one Super Bowl commercial. And for some brands, that’s probably enough to stop them cold in their tracks from signing on the dotted line for those 30 seconds of Super Bowl fame. Just imagine what $5 million means for some brands, and the kind of marketing ROI it could have.

Why advertise in the big game?

Well, for some brands, it’s pretty simple: they have a TON of money and want to. And if you have the means, and the want to do so, who is anyone to tell you differently? SHAMLESS PLUG ALERT: For any brand out there that has a desire (and budget) to advertise in next year’s Super Bowl, our agency is here for hire and ready to serve!

For others, it’s a smart investment. The Monday morning water cooler chats alone can be incredibly valuable to a brand, if a bit intangible. Advertising in the Super Bowl can also bring with it credibility, widespread interest for a product (particularly a new product), remind consumers of a brand’s attributes, and reinforce positive feelings about choosing a brand.

Besides, the work doesn’t necessarily have to die on Super Bowl Sunday; it can be the beginning of something great and live on through additional channels. Just think of the Facebook shares and YouTube views ads could get.

When the gamble doesn’t pay

Of course, in some cases it can fail miserably, leaving brands unable to invest in future marketing efforts. Which leads to another question: was it the decision to advertise in the Super Bowl that was poor, or was the quality of creative that ran which was poor? Maybe the buy was brilliant but the work…well, not so much.

Whether or not it’s a smart decision to advertise in the Super Bowl is unique to each brand. And, it’s the brands themselves along with the agencies they consult with that need to answer that question.

In the meantime, the rest of us get to analyze, re-watch, and daydream about what we would do if we ever had the chance to create a Super Bowl ad.