Home » Superbowl Ads: How 4.5 Million Dollars Could Change the World

Superbowl Ads: How 4.5 Million Dollars Could Change the World

superbowlI love watching the Superbowl. And I love that we live in a free market society. I think it’s amazing that nearly anyone who wants to start their own business here can do so, regardless of money or experience. When I started my freelance writing business, it cost me only Internet access to get it up and running – and that’s free at most local libraries. I say these things to preempt that this post is not meant to be a slam against the Superbowl, against advertising and media or against the free market system, which I thoroughly support.

However, every single year when we watch the big game, I can’t help but think about how much money is going out of corporate pockets, and how much bigger of an impact that money could have on the world than it does via a 30-second ad. In that vein, I thought I’d share what 4.5 million dollars (the cost of one 30-second Superbowl commercial) could do for those who are suffering in this world.

Who knows: maybe one day corporations will start matching the money spent on their Superbowl ads with an equal amount of money donated to a worthy cause.ย 

Fresh Water

In my research and personal giving experience, a fresh water well can be dug for as little as $2,500.

According to Samaritan’s Purse:

More people die because of lack of access to clean, safe drinking water than AIDS, measles, and malaria combined,โ€ said Samaritanโ€™s Purse South Sudan Country Director David Philips. Improving access to clean drinking water would cut the overall health risk for this South Sudan community in half.

Even if a well cost $10,000 to drill, a company donating $4.5 million could pay for the implementation of 450 fresh water wells in struggling third world countries. Imagine the lives that would be saved!

Food to Eat

According to Poverty.com, roughly 21,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related diseases. Feed My Starving Children – a popular non-profit organization that provides meals to people all around the world, can send a meal to an impoverished person for a mere 22 cents.

This means that a corporate Superbowl ad-match of $4.5 million would provide for a whopping 20 million+ meals to starving children and adults everywhere! Talk about life changing!

Teach a Man (or Woman) to Fish

For as little as $500, a person in a third world country can learn to provide for their families courtesy of a micro loan for business start-up purposes. This is money that can help a man or woman wishing to escape from poverty or a ย slavery/sex-trafficking situation get on their feet and give them hope for the future.

Number of microloans that could potentially be provided with $4.5 million dollars? Up to 9,000. That’s a potential of up to 9,000 lives changed for the better. For more information on donating toward micro loans, see sites such as Kiva.


By giving to provide school supplies for schools both in America and around the world, and by giving money to help build schools in third world countries, you can give a child a chance at a better life by providing the gift of education. As little as $25 or $50 will provide $300-$600 worth of school supplies to schools around the world.

Samaritan’s Purse can construct an entire school in a third world country for as little as $20,000. With $4.5 million, 225 schools could be built in impoverished countries around the world.

Whether via corporate donations that match Superbowl ad expenses, or collectively as a human race, we can indeed change the world, my friends. I encourage you to think about the legacy of giving you want to leave your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Together and individually, we really can make a difference.




  1. I didn’t even know the number was 4.5 million. That’s an obscene amount of money for an Ad. I did see one Ad, I think it was for Colgate that talked about the affects of leaving water running while brushing your teeth. At least they spent their money trying to educate.

    • Josh says:

      Interestingly that is the first time Colgate has advertised during the Super Bowl. Will be interesting to see if they start a trend for future first-time advertisers.

      @Laurie…thanks for researching all the different ways the money could have been spent helping others.

      • Laurie says:

        Really!!! I didn’t know that! I would love it if a trend started. Colgate did a great job of making a meaningful commercial without sounding preachy, I thought.

  2. Ugh, these numbers always depress me. Think of the good publicity these companies could get by doing good works! Of course, then they’d have to let people know about it, aka advertise.

    It’s a vicious cycle!

  3. Wow, what an eye-opening way to look at this! One thing I have to constantly remind myself is that life is not efficient. This world is not efficient. I am not as efficient as I want to be or think I am. So we spend money on things that are less important, and so do our communities and our nation. But you’re also right, that we can take responsibility to do our part with the resources at our disposal.

  4. I did not watch the Super Bowl this year. Wait. I don’t watch it any year but normally I do watch the ads. ๐Ÿ™‚ This year there wasn’t a ton of buzz around the ads, so I’m guessing the $4.5M they spent really could have been put to better use this year! And yes, sometimes I think they would just be better off giving money directly to people. Yeah, lots would make bad choices with it but not everyone would and it would make a huge difference in their lives.

  5. Mackenzie says:

    Good grief, that is quite a bit of money for just a commercial! Wow… You are right, more can be done with that money than what they are using it for and quite frankly, I am tired of the commercials for medications for whatever it is that is ailing you, but come with over a dozen side effects that sound worse than the actual ailment ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, exactly! It’s like “This will really help reduce the pain from the thorn in your thumb, but be careful, it could destroy your body in the process and might kill ya.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laurie says:

      I hear ya, Amy!! I’m totally okay with people doing what they want to do with their hard-earned cash, but it sure would be nice to see more talk about giving back.

  6. Miranda says:

    It’s crazy to think of the amount of money that these already multi-million dollar companies spend on something like ads. I love how you put it in perspective of what we could do for our fellow man with such funds. I agree Laurie, that these companies could match and do some good with some of the revenue such ads bring in.

  7. I really struggle with this one. First of all, you are absolutely right about the huge impact $4.5 million could have on the world. On the other hand, companies have run analysis and expect these adds to be positive ROI. So…they are actually making money by running these ads and losing money by not running them. If anyone should be blamed I think it’s everyone watching the game and giving so much attention to it! (Disclaimer: I admit I watched the game, and watch it every year…so by my theory I’m part of the problem).

    • Laurie says:

      I’m not dissing their expenditure or the profit they make because of it, I was just thinking how nice it would be if they took some of that cash or did a match donation and made some life-changing impacts across the globe. But I hear you – I watch ’em too, every year, and I enjoy it. Well, almost all of it. Not crazy about the puppy/monkey/baby commercial. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Super Bowl ads are so lame nowadays, too. Or maybe I’m just getting old and bitter… (I’m only 26, what the heck). They just come off as so tryhard-ish to me now.

    “Haha wow look how quirky and hilarious our commercial is – BUY OUR STUFF” or the alternative, “wow look how touching and emotional our commercial is – BUY OUR STUFF”.

    I can sum up my feelings about Super Bowl ads with one word – ugh.

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