After no one won either of last week’s Powerball drawings, the total jackpot is expected to reach $1.3 billion by this Wednesday—almost twice as much as any lottery payout in U.S. history. Now naturally, exactly what a billion dollars can buy you has been of extra interest to the American public in the past days. True, it’s important to know the best place to get chinchilla fur to upholster the seats of your supersonic jet—and yes, a paid membership into the Kardashian family could be useful now and again. But we may be missing the key word of this particular game: power. Sure, you could affect all kinds of benevolent change to society with a billion dollars—actually, you could fully fund your own presidential campaign—but that’s neither here nor there. We’re talking about real power.
It would cost you about $540 million to buy up the Super Bowl’s entire allotment of ad space, at the going rate of $9 million a minute. Essentially, that means you have nearly the entire American public’s attention captive for roughly one hour—to do or say pretty much whatever you want. You could cook your grandma’s meatloaf recipe, make a collage of celebrity Scientologists, talk to your cat in Teletubbies voices while applying a Nutella face mask, or perhaps perform a solo ‘N Sync vs. Backstreet Boys sing-off—things that will actually change the world. If you’re worried about nobody liking you when you’re done kidnapping the airwaves with your undervalued personal interests, just remember this is really only an amplified version of your Snapchat account, and besides, everybody just likes you for your money now anyway.