The New Age of Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl XLVII—is it really about football, fans, friends and beer?

Just yesterday a client told me that he recently broke the news to his wife that he would be leaving for Europe on Sunday and would miss the Super Bowl.  She was irate.  He quickly asked her if she even knew who was playing in the game.  Her answer: “It doesn’t matter who’s playing, it’s about the commercials!”

She’s right, you know; it’s about the commercials. Super Bowl ads have truly become part of American culture – although it has taken forty-some less-than-super games to get to this point.

During this lone television broadcast, TV viewers actually welcome the interruption of commercials. In fact, for many viewers – other than the Harbaugh family – commercials are the only reason they’re watching the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Big brands pay big time for these spots. With 1/3 the population of the United States tuned in, brands will be paying $3.75 million for a 30-second spot. (That’s $125,000 per second for 100 million viewers.)

But here is this year’s twist. Smart brands are engaging consumers before and during the Super Bowl. Engaging—not just releasing teaser ads (or the entire commercial) before the game day. Brands like Pepsi, Doritos and Coca-Cola are offering contests, crowd-sourcing photos and videos, and letting viewers choose the endings. How much more fun could commercials get?

So when AdAge asks, Is Social Media Spoiling the Super Bowl Ad Surprise?, we say “no.”

  • 4 million fans have “liked” Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl app on Facebook. And we’re waiting to see which commercial wins the contest and lands a spot on the big screen.
  • More than 250,000 have voted for their favorite team on I voted for the cowboys and happily sabotaged the Badlanders and Showgirls.
  • After two years of fantastic Volkswagen Super Bowl ads—Darth Vader (2011), The Dog Strikes Back and its teaser The Bark Side (2012) landed a total of 90 million YouTube views—we are eagerly anticipating what Volkswagen will reveal on game day. (Although if we understand the teaser correctly, it looks like “The Force” won’t be with us this year.)
  • And then there’s Budweiser, making their regularly scheduled appearance since 1987 and promising another Clydesdale story, this year featuring a baby horse born on Jan. 16 and using the twitter hashtag #Clydesdales to ask people to help name the foal.

Teasers for Super Bowl 2013

To prep for Game Day (or for those of you who will be on a flight to Europe), sit back and watch the teasers for the 2013 Super Bowl ads. Then feel free to cast a line into the social sharing pond.

Coca-Cola teaser

Volkswagen teaser

Toyota (early-release) commercial

Hyundai (early-release) commercial

Taco Bell (early-release) commercial

Gildan teaser

So sit back and enjoy millions of dollars of commercials this Sunday! Then come back next week to see who we think won the game. . . that is, the Ad Game.

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL . . . I mean, COMMERCIALS!