The Super Bowl broadcast is – well, the Super Bowl of advertising each year, at least in the U.S. But just as important as the big game for marketers, is the week leading up to it.
A growing trend in recent years has been for companies to place either the full ads on the Web in the days leading up to kickoff, or to film separate teasers meant to build buzz and ramp up expectation for the 30-second spots they have paid millions to air.
It’s easy to see why this strategy is gaining momentum: last year’s TV audience for the game in the U.S. was a record 111-million people. Ads, however, were viewed online roughly 300-million times in total, according to Google Inc.
The company, which owns YouTube, found that campaigns that released some type of video before the game last year netted on average 9.1-million views online. By contrast, advertisers that held out for the surprise factor, and did not air anything until game day, had only 1.3-million follow-up views of their videos online, on average. That’s a major difference. And it may be one reason that the scales have tipped toward most companies choosing to put at least a little something up on the Web in the lead-up to game day. In 2012, 34 campaigns did that, compared to 20 who waited to release anything until after the final whistle.
Here are some of the ads that have been pre-released or teased this year.
Gildan Activewear Inc.
The Montreal-based T-shirt maker is punching above its weight, spending the money to be part of the U.S. broadcast this year to make a bigger dent in the American sports apparel market.
Doritos is once again running its Crash the Super Bowl program, opening up the advertising pitch for their Super Bowl spot to just about anyone. The five finalists can all be seen on YouTube, and Frito-Lay allowed the public to vote on which one will air – to be revealed during the broadcast, plus another that the company chooses. This is the seventh year Frito-Lay has run the contest. This year, the ad that ranks the highest on USA Today’s Ad Meter, which measures the audience response to Super Bowl ads every year, will win its director the chance to work with Michael Bay on the new Transformers movie as well as a cash prize.
Last year, the brand used soccer star David Beckham as its model. But the spot fell flat, proving that sometimes a celebrity is not enough to sell a big game commercial. This year the company is still shilling men’s underwear, but this time with a male model doing the job. For some reason, there are also a few quick shots of some sort of wet machinery. Whatever; it still makes more sense than Brad Pitt’s bonkers Chanel ad from last year.
Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory plays a genie in this spot for the RAV4, which was previewed last week with a fairly entertaining teaser. She is also slightly ornery and literal to a fault; meaning that one member of the family has some trouble. Unfortunately, she can’t wish away that most tired of advertising clichés – the chubby, dim father figure everyone makes fun of.>
Oh good! More babies. No one has ever done that in the Super Bowl before. Still, this one may appeal to parents for a dad’s humorous attempt to get out of having “the talk” with a ridiculous story of space babies. And for the rest of us, there are baby giraffes, puppies, and pandering – er, pandas.
Babies not your thing? Kia’s got itself covered. Fembots. Done.
Eat your heart out, War Horse. When this tale of a farmer and his Clydesdale is over, the beer brand is hoping you have a little something in your eye. In conjunction with the ad, Budweiser is holding a Twitter competition to name the newest Clydesdale foal.
The fast food chain earlier released a teaser for this ad, which centres on a group of elderly folks having a distinctly teenage night out.
Along with other Canadian companies BlackBerry and Gildan, Bank of Montreal will also be airing a spot the U.S.
The luxury car maker decided to pick up on the trend of crowdsourcing Super Bowl ads this year, mining Twitter messages from fans to create a disjointed story of love, and posting all of the back stories on steerthescript.com.
The smartphone maker has been lagging rivals, especially in the United States, making the biggest American sporting event of the year the perfect place to hype its newly released BlackBerry 10, the company’s chief marketing officer said in an interview with the Globe.
Unlike many other companies, BlackBerry has no plans to pre-release its ad before it airs on Sunday, but did provide a still image. The commercial will run in the United States and Canada.
Samsung is the official HD-TV sponsor of the NFL this year and will run a 2-minute ad in the broadcast on Sunday.
In this teaser, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen brainstorm advertising ideas for the game. They have some fun with the NFL copyrights that prevent many advertisers from using terms such as “Super Bowl” and team names in their commercials. The spoof has them hyping “the big game” and trying to find ways to talk around those expensive trademark limitations.
Kraft MiO Fit
The flavouring product for water, which is targeted at young men and has been a growth driver for Kraft, is introducing a new spokesperson – Tracy Morgan, who has just finished a long-running gig with the end of the 30 Rock series. And the company is already editing the foulmouthed comedian.
Editor's note: An earlier version incorrectly referred to Tracy Jordan.
The manufacturer of gadgets that allow you to make soda at home has run afoul of advertising regulations before, when its ad was banned in Britain. Well, the ad it originally produced for the Super Bowl broadcast was also rejected, this time by CBS. The ad that won’t run features a version of the familiar Coke and Pepsi delivery truck guys made famous in Pepsi Super Bowl ads of the past. But the ad, made by famous creative director Alex Bogusky, had palettes of bottles bursting in their hands and then in both trucks, with the SodaStream tagline “If you love the bubbles, set them free.”
Ironically, the ad that SodaStream will run on game day instead is a version of the same ad that was banned across the pond.
Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to Super Bowl ads – every brand, it seems, is attempting to net more attention outside of its tiny slot of time in the TV broadcast. This year, Audi attempted to do this by letting viewers choose the end of its commercial. The spot features a young man going to the prom without a date. His dad lends him the Audi to drive there, and the young man gains confidence to grab the prom queen for a stolen kiss. The brand posted three possible endings and let viewers vote. This commercial was the winner. (Here are the other two: first and second.)
This commercial has not yet leaked, but one thing that is out ahead of time is the brand’s association with pop megastar Taylor Swift. In a teaser video, Ms. Swift announced the partnership to her fans on Sunday.
Another blonde, with a much less wholesome image, was the star of a teaser. Model Kate Upton was featured in bouncy slow-motion in an online video, flirting with boys who are washing the new car, in the brand’s attempt to cater to a younger consumer demographic. The actual game-day ad features Ms. Upton as well as R&B star Usher and Willem Dafoe. The teaser has been panned by the Parents Television Council, unsurprisingly. Others on social media expressed both criticism of the old-fashioned trashy attempt at sex appeal, as well as disappointment that Ms. Upton was not more scantily clad.
Meanwhile, the brand that has become known as the king of trashy attempts at sex appeal released a remarkably tame ad. The spot that will air during the game features men all over the world saying they don’t need to put their big idea online, since it is totally original (the joke being that they’ve all had the same idea.) Not a tawdry wink-wink at nudity in sight. Then again, the brand also released a glamour-shot teaser for its other big-game commercial, featuring long time spokesperson Danica Patrick and model Bar Rafaeli – and that, combined with another video in its pre-game releases seem to suggest GoDaddy hasn’t really grown up.
Unilever’s line of body sprays best known for their reeking presence in your local high school hallway, is taking it to the stratosphere. Its ad promotes a contest it launched earlier this month, allowing customers to vie for a spot on a suborbital space flight. The ad features a hunky lifeguard saving a woman from a shark, only to be abandoned for the ultimate sex symbol – an astronaut.
Last year, Coke made news with its “Polar Bowl” – an online extra that allowed viewers to watch its polar bear mascots reacting to the game. Roughly 9 million people visited the site. This year it’s pushing the interactive aspect even further. Its ad features three teams in the desert, racing to get a free Coke. The company is hoping people will log on through cokechase.com to vote for their favourite team; throw roadblocks in the way of the others; and if they share the content through social media, vie for one of 50,000 coupons for their own free drink. Coke is also betting on a big post-game audience, and will run a commercial after the end of the Super Bowl revealing the team that won the race. “It’s going to be real-time,” said Pio Schunker, the senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications for Coca-Cola North America, during a press webcast introducing the spot.
The car company has teamed up with musician Jimmy Cliff to cross-promote its cars as well as Mr. Cliff’s new album. The ad was teased on Jan. 23 with a video featuring Jimmy Cliff singing “Get Happy” to a number of people who have become semi-famous for online freak-outs. The main commercial – somewhat questionably, some may argue – features a man attempting to cheer his coworkers up by parroting a Jimmy Cliff-style Jamaican accent.
Walt Disney Studios
The movie studio released a teaser for upcoming release Oz The Great and Powerful. A 30-second ad for the movie will run during the game. Disney has also purchased a 30-second in-game spot for Iron Man 3, and a 90-second spot in the pre-game show for The Lone Ranger. Teasers for those will appear sometime this week. All of those ads will also be running during commercial time in the Canadian broadcast.
There are extras in Canada, where commercials cost a fraction of the U.S. price: Disney will be running two more commercials during pre-game here: a full 2-minute trailer for Iron Man 3 and another 30-second Oz commercial.
The soft drink maker is official sponsor, both in Canada and the U.S., of the half time show featuring Beyoncé. Instead of running a typical commercial, PepsiCo is instead running a digital promotion to crowdsource the halftime introduction.
The company asked people to submit photos to halftime.pepsi.com, and hundreds of them will be chosen to be part of a 30-second video that will countdown to Beyoncé taking the stage. Pepsi will also be running a 30-second commercial during the game for its low-sugar Pepsi Next product.
Tide released this teaser, which mimics the style of low-budget late night infomercials, for a fake product called the “stain saver” which actually preserves memorable stains. The spot encourages viewers to tune into the Super Bowl for a stain “worth saving.”
The insurance company will run a commercial just after the game ends. It follows on a series of ads featuring Dean Winters embodying the character of “Mayhem” – the idea being that he is everywhere, and that is why people need protection. In previous instalments, Mayhem has been seen in the form of worn-out wiper blades, and a guard dog ineffective at warding off burglars, among other spots. This commercial shows mayhem through history, from the apple in the Garden of Eden to the present day.