It wasn’t child’s play, but Paramount Global has sold out all commercial inventory tied to a coming simulcast of Super Bowl LVIII set to air on Nickelodeon.
The big NFL extravaganza will largely be seen via its February 11 broadcast on CBS, but Paramount is testing whether it can expand the event’s audience by running a kids-and-family focused version of the Big Game on Nickelodeon. Most of the commercials set to air will be the same across CBS, Nickelodeon and Paramount+, all part of packages valued at between $6.5 million and $7 million. In some cases, however, the product being advertised in the Super Bowl — a bottle of beer, for example, or sports betting or an R-rated movie — won’t be appropriate for the younger children watching on the home of characters like SpongeBob SquarePants and Chase and Rocky from “Paw Patrol.”
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Paramount had offered advertisers the chance to run different commercials on Nickelodeon, and was prepared to sell a handful of units that would appear only in the kids-cable feed. Now, according to a person familiar with the matter, the company expects 15 “Nick-only” spots to run, many of them from toy marketers, retailers, restaurant chains and manufacturers of consumer packaged goods. Paramount has been seeking between $200,000 and $300,000 for a stand-alone 30-second Super Bowl spot on Nickelodeon, according to media buyers and other executives familiar with the pace of negotiations.
“We have had a number of clients buy the Nickelodeon package, but not be in the linear package on CBS,” says one media-buying executive with knowledge of recent talks.
The Paramount ad-sales team wasn’t able to sell its Nickelodeon inventory at the same time it was haggling for sales of the CBS Super Bowl telecast, according to the person familiar with the matter. Because the bulk of Super Bowl sponsors bought a multi-media package that included both CBS and Nickelodeon as well as Paramount+, ad-sales executives were forced to wait until they understood who was in the CBS line-up. Then they had to determine which commercials wouldn’t be appropriate for the Nickelodeon audience and figure out how individual advertisers might want to handle the situation. That also gave them an indication if they had some empty slots the original advertiser might not want.
CBS announced its Super Bowl inventory was nearly sold out in November (not all of it was locked up, however; Toyota, which previously announced it would not advertise in Super Bowl LVIII, turned things around last week and said it was driving into the game, a sure sign CBS found itself with inventory still on its hands). Once the network had gotten its arms around ad demand for the game, sales teams could then focus on Nickelodeon, this person said. In all, the Nickelodeon Super Bowl inventory took about six weeks to sell.
Paramount had a clear pitch to sell the Nickelodeon spots. Potential advertisers were told that taking up Nickelodeon inventory would help them expand the audience they might reach and extend more deeply into a group of kids and adults watching together. Some marketers were even offered the chance to tap into working with influencers familiar to the Nickelodeon audience and to weave their messages into Nickelodeon-themed sports content and surrounding programming.
Chances are some Super Bowl marketers were happy to have Nickelodeon as part of the mix. The 2024 Super Bowl ad roster includes commercials from Nerds Gummy Clusters from Ferrara Candy Company and Reese’s from Hershey’s.
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