Quantitative Marketing and Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–28

Super returns to Super Bowl ads?

  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Hal Varian
  • Michael D. Smith

DOI: 10.1007/s11129-016-9179-0

Cite this article as:
Stephens-Davidowitz, S., Varian, H. & Smith, M.D. Quant Mark Econ (2017) 15: 1. doi:10.1007/s11129-016-9179-0


This paper uses a natural experiment—the Super Bowl—to study the causal effect of advertising on demand for movies. Identification of the causal effect rests on two points: 1) Super Bowl ads are purchased before advertisers know which teams will play; 2) home cities of the teams that are playing will have proportionally more viewers than viewers in other cities. We find that the movies in our sample experience on average incremental opening weekend ticket sales of about $8.4 million from a $3 million Super Bowl advertisement.


Advertising effectiveness Measurement Movies Super bowl 

JEL Classification

L82 M37 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
    • 1
  • Hal Varian
    • 2
  • Michael D. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.The Wharton SchoolPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.University of California at Berkeley and GoogleBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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