In 2020–2021, when advertisers were making decisions about their advertising investments, times were tough. The cultural environment was precarious, and the trajectory of the pandemic was more uncertain. This sentiment affected advertising in the 2021 Super Bowl. Brands were worried they wouldn’t be able to strike the right tone in a moment in which they knew all eyes would be on them. As a result, many long-standing advertisers bowed out of the Super Bowl, including Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and Hyundai. Timidity is shifting into confidence, as brands get their mojo back in 2022.

Advertisers Are Bullish With Marketing Spend Projections

Forrester finds that marketing spend has already rebounded to exceed pre-pandemic levels. In Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2022, 69% of 770 B2C marketing decision-makers said they plan to increase their organization’s marketing investment in 2022. This positive momentum is reinforced by global ad spend projections from major agency holding companies:

Media Industry Events Return To #IRL

As the COVID-19 pandemic became a global reality, conferences and industry events, such as South by Southwest (SXSW), quickly pivoted to virtual attendance. In Forrester Analytics Business Technographics® Priorities and Journey COVID-19 Recontact Survey, 2020, 61% of 1,755 purchase influencers said that events they attended or planned to attend in 2020 were shifted to virtual-only attendance.

This year, major industry events are moving back to hybrid in-person and virtual attendance, including Vox Media’s Pivot conference in Miami next week, SXSW in Austin starting on March 11, the Upfronts in New York in May, and Forrester’s own CX North America conference in Nashville, June 7–9. Many consumers are ready to get back out into the physical world. In Forrester’s December 2021 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey, 41% of US online adults and 38% of UK online adults indicated that “exploring new places rather than staying home” describes their mood in the moment.

Brands Are Kicking Off The Year Strong With Super Bowl LVI

The Super Bowl continues to be the one annual tentpole moment where consumers — not just media industry professionals — care about ads. Forrester conducted a poll on Super Bowl and advertising interest with 306 US adults from January 31, 2022, to February 7, 2022, in its ConsumerVoices market research online community (MROC).* The results of the poll indicate that of the 194 who plan to watch the Super Bowl this year, 135 agree or strongly agree that they watch the Super Bowl to see the ads.

It’s no surprise then that advertisers see tremendous value in this media moment, which is commanding a record price in 2022. Some advertisers have scooped up inventory at up to $7 million per spot, a significant increase from last year’s $5.5 million average. If this aggressive move by advertisers is any indication of what the rest of 2022 holds, the media industry is in for a healthy and competitive year.

*Note: This poll was administered to a sample of 305 online consumers in the US in Forrester’s qualitative ConsumerVoices online community. This data is not weighted to be representative of total country populations.