This Sunday, nearly 180 million Americans will settle in front of TV
sets with beer and chicken wings and, over four hours, watch commercials
interrupted by an American football game.
Well, all right, the
gridiron showdown in New Orleans between the Baltimore Ravens and the
San Francisco 49ers is still the main attraction of the Super Bowl that
will bring another US football season to a close.
But for the more
than 30 brands from luxury cars to laundry detergent forking out as
much as $3.8 million for 30 seconds of airtime on the CBS network, it's
an advertising showcase like no other.
Some have already released
their ads in full on YouTube to get people talking. Others have posted
teasers online. Still more are opting for an aura of suspense by holding
back their ads until the opening kickoff.
And all are banking on social media to keep the buzz alive long after the clock runs out.
of the goals has always been not just the (viewing) audience, but the
word of mouth afterwards," said Matt Miller of the Association of
Independent Commercial Producers. "Social media just puts that on
Causing an early stir have been pre-released spots from
Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, two of the record nine automakers using
the Super Bowl to show off their latest wares.
consumers, Mercedes-Benz recruited Sports Illustrated swimsuit model
Kate Upton to suggestively blow soap bubbles at a squad of awestruck
young men washing one of its all-new CLA sedans.
Online cries of
sexism only helped generate more than 5.5 million views on YouTube for
the ad, which concludes with an invitation to see more on
Mercedes-Benz's Facebook page.
"People actually want to see the
ads," added Claudine Cheever, chief strategy officer for Saatchi and
Saatchi, which has created ads for Tide and Toyota for this year's Super
Bowl. "And that's a beautiful thing."
Volkswagen took some flak
this week for its ad a collaboration with reggae legend Jimmy Cliff
featuring a Beetle-driving white office worker cheering up his gloomy
colleagues with a hip Jamaican accent.
While some critics and
bloggers cried racism, the ad swiftly clocked 1.6 million YouTube views
with Jamaicans among the first to sing its praises on Volkswagen's
"I love it. It's funny not racist at all. I am Jamaican and proud," one of them wrote.
the cute animal angle, Budweiser which has used zebras and frogs in the
past is inviting consumers to name a newborn foal in its stable of
Clydesdale equine mascots, using a Twitter feed it launched a few days
The brewer is behind 11 of the 25 best Super Bowl ads of all
time, more than any other single brand, according to the USA Today
newspaper, which runs an online "Ad Meter" for readers to vote for their
With Apple staying away from this year's game,
smartphone rivals BlackBerry and Samsung have both snapped up airtime
with the former gambling big to claw back market share with its new
BlackBerry 10 operating system.
Working a tried and tested
formula, Doritos tortilla chips has again asked the online public to
vote for one of five sitcom-flavored ads submitted by amateurs, with the
winning spot going on to appear during the game.
spots are loved and score super high," advertising executive PJ Pereira
told Advertising Age magazine, which keeps an online list of all this
year's Super Bowl ads.
Coca-Cola, retiring its iconic animated
polar bears, is asking consumers to vote during the Super Bowl to decide
the ending of its desert-theme ad. The winner will air right after the
Coke is up against archrival Pepsi, which has poured
millions of dollars not only into two 30 second spots, but also the
half-time show that stars its pop diva spokeswoman Beyonce.
showbiz spectacular typically pulls in more viewers than the game
itself, which last year drew 111.3 million viewers. The Retail
Advertising and Marketing Association expects viewership this year to
surpass 179 million.
Newcomers include Wonderful Pistachios, which
has called in South Korean rapper and YouTube sensation Psy for its
spot, and Gildan Activewear, a virtually unknown Canadian T-shirt giant
angling to raise its retail profile.
Gildan's vice president for
marketing Rob Packard told AFP that a YouTube teaser of the ad about a
young man trying get his favorite T-shirt back from his girlfriend after
a night of kinky sexis already paying off.
"Our sales increase
(in general) has been good. Our sales increase since all of the buzz
about our ad is better," said Packard, whose multinational has made a
staggering five billion T-shirts since its founding in 1984.
Siebert, vice president for communications at digital marketing firm
Digiteria, acknowledged that paying nearly $4 million for Super Bowl air
time represents "one heck of an investment" for any company to make.
again, he said in an email, "there were a couple of years when the
games were blowouts and the only thing worth watching by late in the
third quarter were the ads."