Temu dropped tens of millions of dollars on its flurry of Super Bowl ads — and its big spending may pay off

Temu, the ecommerce site with cheap delights loved by older people.

Temu’s Super Bowl ads sparked a surge in online searches despite recent downturn among users. The e-commerce company splurged on three spots during Sunday’s big game. The advertisement campaign comes as Temu seeks to win US users and sales. 

Temu was the talk of the town on Monday after its ambitious Super Bowl advertising campaign sparked a flurry of online queries about the Boston-based, Chinese-owned e-commerce company.

The online discount marketplace aired three commercials during the big game, doubling down on efforts to raise its profile among Americans amid a drop in users and sales in recent months, according to Bloomberg.

A 30-second spot in Sunday’s game cost companies a whopping $7 million.

Temu’s advertisement featured animated characters using the app to transform their lives to the tune of a catchy jingle. The marketing campaign urged viewers — somewhat bizarrely — to “shop like a billionaire” as the ad’s avatars filled their homes with $10 toasters and $6 skateboards (decidedly unbillionaire-like behavior).

The company splurged on three ads during the game and two afterward, per CNN, also offering $15 million in giveaways and coupons as part of its Super Bowl promotion. Bloomberg, however, reported that six ads ran in total.

A representative for Temu did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s questions and request for comment.

The company, which is known for its ultra-cheap online marketplace that offers low prices and spending deals on everything from apparel to household items, made its advertisement debut during last year’s Super Bowl after officially launching in the US in September 2022.

But while Temu saw massive growth in 2023, some of its numbers have started to fall off in recent months among American users, according to Bloomberg.

Observed sales for Temu fell 12.5% month-on-month in December and 4.8% in January, per Bloomberg Second Measure data, which tracks a subset of US credit and debit card transactions. Overall, US retail sales for the company increased during December, the outlet reported.

The number of Temu users in the US is also on the decline, according to Second Measure data, and a recent survey from Morgan Stanley suggests nearly a third of current Temu users intend to use the app less in the near future, Bloomberg reported.

Online searches for the company have also been steadily declining since July, according to Google Trends.

Temu has been plagued by low customer satisfaction due to reported long delivery times. The company’s Better Business Bureau rating is currently just 2.5 stars, and a congressional report from last summer also found an extremely high likelihood that Temu’s supply chains use forced labor — an allegation the company has denied.

But its Sunday advertising campaign may have already helped Temu regain some of its early success in the US. Web searches for the company spiked during its ads, according to Google Trends, and the Temu app was sitting at second place among the most downloaded free apps for Apple on Monday, according to USA Today.

Temu’s biggest win, however, may be that its Sunday ads course-corrected the company’s proper pronunciation, teaching viewers to emphasize the “teh” in “teh-moo,” compared to previous pronunciations of “tee-moo.”

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