Now that the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots have qualified for Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona on Sunday, February 1st, we can turn our attention to one of the most exciting parts of the year for people in the advertising world, the Super Bowl commercials.
However, things are very different than they were 10, even 5 years ago. Gone are the days of anxiously awaiting every commercial break to see the new commercials, while doing activities like getting food and going to the bathroom during the (usually) boring game was taking place. Now most advertisers are releasing their commercials a week or two before the game to generate interest in the spot. How many YouTube views did it get? Likes and shares on Facebook? Number of tweets on Twitter? They are all important factors now and help influence how the commercial scores on the USA Today Ad Meter, a popularity ranking, on Monday morning.
Of all the social media exposure the spots will receive leading up to the game, YouTube by far is the most important. In fact, due to the pre-release of spots last year, one in five Super Bowl spots were viewed before the game. One example of YouTube’s influence from last year: Ad Age hired a national research firm to survey over 1,000 Super Bowl viewers. They were asked if they remembered two automotive ads, one about British villains in London (Jaguar) and the other about Bob Dylan (Chrysler). Of those who remembered seeing the ads, 40% of the respondents identified “British Villains” as Jaguar and 28% identified “Bob Dylan” as a Chrysler ad. Each of these spots finished in the middle of the pack on the Ad Meter (24th and 12th, respectively). However, each of the spots had a tremendous number of views on YouTube leading up to the game. The Jaguar spot had 12.6 million views and the Chrysler spot had 11.7 million views.
In contrast, the same research firm asked about a spot where there were parents who had to save their children from potential accidents. The commercial was a big hit and placed 6th in the Top 10 of the Ad Meter. The question asked was in the research was which major car company was the commercial for, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, or Hyundai? The most popular answer, Ford, was incorrect. The car company that was showing the power of their new automatic emergency braking system wasHyundai. They did not release the spot prior to the game. As a comparison, the recall numbers of the “British Villains” and “Bob Dylan” spots were two times (or greater) than the Hyundai spot, in spite of the standings on the Ad Meter.
Another example from last year was Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” spot. Despite the ad running in the 4thquarter of another uncompetitive Super Bowl, the spot ranked #1 on the Ad Meter. The result can be directly attributed to the 54 million online views and numerous “shares” of the spot prior to the game. Unsurprisingly, Budweiser is planning a sequel ad in this year’s game.
Approximately 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl for 3 hours or more. According to YouTube dashboard trends, viewers will watch Super Bowl spots online more than 265 million times, over 3.2 million hours of viewing in total. With direct attention to a commercial more precious than ever, having consumers view your spot multiple times, on multiple screens, leads them to be more likely to recall and potentially engage with your brand.
Overall, with :30 spots in the Super Bowl costing close to $4.5 million per unit, each advertiser had better come up with a solid Super Bowl strategy in order to maximize their dollars and make the most impact. Otherwise, they are probably gambling with a significant portion of their marketing budget and hoping for the best. Just buying the spot alone, without a campaign around it, leaves you behind the competition. Multiplatform is the way to think in today’s landscape.
Here are some of the best examples of advertisers that have pre-released spots for this year’s game:
o Budweiser has purchased 210 seconds of air time for the game. Bud Light gets at least 90 of them here with continuing their “Up for Whatever” campaign and a life sized Pac-Man game.
o On Monday, T-Mobile released their Kim’s Data Stash commercial, featuring Kim Kardashian West on the Conan O’Brien Show.
o The NFL released an Anti-Domestic Violence PSA ad for the website NoMore.Org. They donated some of their ad time for the spot. Grey, the NFL’s ad agency, also donated their time in making the spot.
o Snickers will pre-release their “Brady Bunch” themed commercial if enough people watch the teaser ad.
o It’s the year of the Dad with Dad themed spots from Dove Men Care, Nissan and Toyota
Some quick additional Super Bowl tidbits:
– Newcastle’s “Band of Brands” ambush campaign where they are trying to get other advertisers to chip in together to purchase a commercial in the Super Bowl. Teaser spots can be viewed here andhere. The final spot was just released and 37 brands have been incorporated. The spot, however, will not air in the Super Bowl, just in a few local markets.
– There could be up to 15 first-time advertisers this year. Confirmed companies include Avocados of Mexico, Carnival, Locite Glue, Mophie, Skittles (no Marshawn Lynch), Weight Watchers and Wix.com
– E-surance can be considered a first-time in-game advertiser as they got off cheap last year buying the first spot AFTER the game in 2014.
– Automotive, which is usually among the leaders in Super Bowl advertising, has many brands confirming they are out of the game this year. General Motors, Ford, Lincoln, Volkswagon, Audi, Jaguar, Honda, & Acura will not return.
– NBC will streamline 11 hours of Super Bowl content to computers and tablets. This will include Pre-Game, the Half Time Show w/Katy Perry, and the midseason premiere of “The Blacklist.” Verizon will stream the game on smartphones via the NFL Mobile App for subscribers to the “More Everything” plan.
After talking about the commercials leading up to the game, let’s talk about the game itself for just a moment. Despite the Patriots being on the defensive and looking to prove themselves after the #Deflategate controversy, I expect the defending champs to repeat as the Seahawk defense will contain the Pats; Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch will make enough plays for the win. Seahawks 24, Patriots 17.