Over the course of Tom Brady’s 22-year career, the NFL’s winningest quarterback has bolstered the reputation of lesser-known players and coaches, his own brand TB12, and most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after winning a Super Bowl championship during his first season with the franchise.
But businesses don’t need to be directly on Brady’s team to benefit from the future Hall of Famer. New data from EDO, which measures consumer engagement with ads, shows that brands that advertise during Brady's games are also reaping the benefits of his star power.
“The Tom Brady effect is very real,” Kevin Krim, the CEO and President of EDO, said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “What we've seen over the last six-and-a-half years is that Tom Brady has a huge impact when he's in a game, and the effect on advertising in those games is elevated.”
Tom Brady draws viewers — and advertisers
The benefits of advertising during a Brady game start with audience size.
Nationally televised games like the Buccaneers' upcoming Thursday Night Football matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles draw a substantial number of the viewers. Less than two weeks ago, Brady's Sunday Night Football matchup against the New England Patriots was NBC’s second-most watched Sunday Night Football game ever. The game reached 28.5 million viewers with more than one-third of the country’s active televisions tuned into the game, per NBC Sports Group.
This wasn’t just because the game was hyped as a return home for Brady, who played his first 20 NFL seasons in New England. EDO reported that a regular season game that features Brady averages a 12% larger viewing audience than other games.
And it's not just that audience sizes are larger for Brady's games — viewers also appear to be more engaged. In fact, consumers were 15% more likely to search brands that advertised during Brady games, according to EDO.
“Search, what [viewers] search for on places like Google, is one of the most powerful signals of advertising impact available out there,” Krim explained. “When people search for things, they're looking to buy those things often. And so what we do is measure every ad on TV and its effect on changes in search for every single area.”
On Sept. 9, Brady played in the NFL’s season opener during primetime broadcasting hours. A Subway commercial, which featured the notoriously health-conscious Brady smelling a loaf of Subway bread, drove 141,000 additional online searches for Subway, per EDO. To put that in perspective, viewers of the recent Brady ad were 68% more likely to search for Subway online than a viewer of an average Subway commercial over the last six years.
Brady augmented that engagement with his ad appearance, according to EDO data. The quarterback starred in two of the four advertisements that drove more than 100,000 searches during the Bucs’ game against the Patriots.
“Quarterbacks and stars matter, especially in context,” Krim said. “And so what the networks do when they're selling these ad packages is they use the value of these premium primetime NFL games, with these stars as the anchor, as the centerpiece of a bigger buy. And this is the way that they generate tens of billions of dollars in the upfronts each year.”