The big-budget US television commercials that have become part of the fun of Super Bowl Sunday will be available for Canadians to watch this weekend.
It’s the third year in a row that fans in Canada have been able to see them during the live broadcast, though the decision to allow them was never overturned.
And it’s certainly not without controversy.
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American TV network broadcasts that also run north of the border typically carry Canadian ads through a process known as “simultaneous substitution” (or “simsub”). That means that during the NFL season, the football game you’re watching will feature ads sold by Bell Media, whether you’re watching CTV or CBS.
The one exception is for the Super Bowl, after a controversial decision made by the CRTC in 2015 that deemed the expensive American ads to be “part of the spectacle.”
Advertisers in the United States pay an average of $5 million for a 30-second spot, so needless to say, they up the entertainment value of them.
For years, Canadians had complained that they weren’t able to see many of the hyped up commercials during the broadcast, but that changed in 2017 and 2018. For those games, fans tuning in to the Canadian network would see Canadian ads, while the American network showed the more spectacular ads.
This had clear consequences for Bell Media, who said it cost them $11 million in ad revenue in 2017. Bell and the NFL fought the decision in court, with some US senators also lobbying against the rule.
The CRTC rule will remain in tact for Sunday’s game despite the fact that Canada had promised to rescind it as part of an updated trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.
Fans tuning in to the live broadcast on CTV and TSN will see exclusive new ads from SkipTheDishes, Purplebricks, Subway Canada, Maple Leaf Foods, L’Oréal, Colgate, and Mazda, as well as PepsiCo Canada’s first-ever Super Bowl advertisement featuring Michael Bublé, according to Bell Media.
Following the game, the popular duo of Jay & Dan will host a post-game show in a brand new feature airing on CTV and TSN, which is something their American counterpart won’t have.
We’ll see if that’s enough to lure consumers away from the CBS broadcast which will carry the extravagant ads that fans see in the United States.
Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams airs this Sunday at 3 pm PT / 6 pm ET, on the network of your choice.