Brands launch pre-Super Bowl blitz

MiC asks industry members to weigh in on the value of releasing big budget ads online before Super Sunday.

Talk about Super Bowl ads for long and the conversation quickly turns towards both the high cost of making the spots and of buying time during the broadcast.

But in the past couple years many brands, such as Volkswagen, Honda and Audi, which are dropping big dough to buy spots, are also releasing a preview or the full commercial days before the first kick on Super Sunday. This year Ad Age already has 14 spots posted in advance of the game.

MiC was curious about this online seeding tactic, so we asked the hitmaker behind the Catvertising videos, Stephen Jurisic, creative director at John St., as well as Laura Gaggi, president at Gaggi Media and Ian Giles, director of social strategy at MediaCom Canada about the trend.

What is the value in releasing big budget Super Bowl ads ahead of the game online?

Gaggi: We live in  a multi-platform media world so I think there is great value in releasing the ad or the teaser ahead of time. More exposure (reach and frequency) for very little cost. The teasers generate much excitement as well. There are millions of people who will not be watching the Super Bowl, so this gives them access to these “much talked about” entertaining ads.

Giles: I have read studies about people increasingly watching TV and surfing the internet at the same time. I think this is a broad societal change in behaviour transcending age, sex and race. In early January, Doritos ran two different 30-second spots during a Bowl game they sponsored on ESPN. They watched the social conversation around both ads and determined the third ad placement based on which was trending higher. They contacted ESPN during the game to tell them which ad to place. An upcoming Honda ad for the 2012 Super Bowl ends with a hashtag, which lends to tracking popularity of TV spots using social analytics. This trend has also given rise to media check in platforms such as GetGlue.

Jurisic: It creates more buzz and excitement for the brand and the Super Bowl, because we know that one medium complements the other. And it will give consumers the ability to share the video more so ultimately the reach will be bigger  (it worked for VW last year).

Do you feel brands are reaching different audiences by releasing the ads both online ahead of the game and during the Super Bowl broadcast?

Gaggi: Yes absolutely. There are millions of people who care less about the Super Bowl but are interested in the hype around the ads and their entertainment value. These people can view them online and don’t have to suffer through the Super Bowl broadcast just to watch them. I remember those days…so glad they are over.

So, is there still the same value in buying Super Bowl spots?

Gaggi: Today… yes. The Super Bowl creates the reason for the launch of the ads. In a few years, perhaps not. Releasing the ads in advance could be killing the goose that laid the golden egg.