ClickZ published its Super Bowl XLVIII Ad Preview on January 22, but in the flurry of activity leading up to the big game, the advertising landscape has changed significantly even since then.
Here’s what’s new as of January 31:
According to Google, consumers have more than 70 Super Bowl-related spots to choose from on YouTube and have watched teasers more than 77 million times as of January 30. That’s up from 26 million on the same day last year.
Google also says 2013 Super Bowl ads that were released on YouTube before they aired on TV drove approximately 3.4 times more views on average than commercials that were released on game day.
Google rep Crystal Dahlen points to Volkswagen as one of the first brands to start this early release trend with its “Force” spot in 2011. The ad went on to garner 59 million views.
“Since then, brands have seen attention sparked because they released ads early and we’re seeing conversations around the Super Bowl starting earlier and earlier and brands creating a digital-first strategy,” she says.
As a result, it’s possible viewers will start to see Super Bowl ads earlier and earlier in future years — potentially even as early as December 26.
“I don’t think it’s far-fetched. We’re seeing a Super Bowl creep,” Dahlen says. “I think we’re definitely seeing brands wanting to capture the mindshare…just waiting for the day [of the Super Bowl] is kind of like waiting to do holiday advertising until Christmas Eve.”
Budweiser Puppy Love
One brand clearly benefiting from the early release strategy is Budweiser, whose “Puppy Love” spot is already up to 24.2 million views just two days after it was posted. We can see why…oh so cute!
Hyundai Plays Nice
Another brand is Hyundai, which actually released two spots ahead of the game.
One, “Nice,” which features actor Johnny Galecki and comedian Richard Lewis, has 7.6 million views since it was posted January 27.
Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai, says the brand is returning for its seventh year, so, “We feel like veterans.”
He says the brand took two different approaches with its “Nice” and “Dad’s Sixth Sense” spots for its Elantra and Genesis models. (“Dad’s Sixth Sense” has about 617,000 views.)
“In the Super Bowl, you get everybody,” Shannon says. “Not only do you get 130 million people, you get a surprising number of women,” which he says is “darn close to 50/50, which is different than other sports.”
Over the course of the years Hyundai has advertised in the Super Bowl, Shannon says the brand has learned to release spots early because “we’ve found there’s an unlimited appetite for Super Bowl content and commercials. There’s really almost no such thing as too early.”
He also points out that even an impressive 10 million views before the game is still a small fraction of the number of people who actually watch the game.
In addition, Shannon says Hyundai didn’t do teasers because “we found people want to watch the spots at the end of the day, so let’s focus on the actual commercials in production and driving people to YouTube to watch the actual spots and not spend a lot of time with teasers.”
SodaStream and Scarlett
Home carbonation system SodaStream is also benefiting from early attention. Its “Sorry Coke and Pepsi” spot featuring actress Scarlett Johansson has 6.9 million views since it was posted on January 27.
That’s already more than 1 million views more than the brand’s banned 2013 commercial that went viral.
This year, SodaStream was asked to remove one line of its ad that directly mentions its competitors.
“Our strategy is simply to communicate to consumers that there exists a better-for-you alternative to packaged soda,” writes Nirit Hurwitz, global brand-building communications manager at SodaStream, in an email. “The mention of our competitors is done in a light-hearted way that adds to the humor of the ad, and as comparative advertising is allowed and frequently seen during the Super Bowl, we were shocked and disappointed that there was any issue with the mention.”
Google’s Dahlen says another promotional tactic some brands use is to try to get their ads banned to drive attention and therefore online viewership, which could be the case here.
Additional early release winners include a slew of auto manufacturers: Audi has 5.7 million views of its “Doberhuahua” spot; Jaguar has 4.3 million views of its “British Villians Rendezvous” spot; Chevrolet has 4.1 million views of its “Romance” spot; and Volkswagen has 3.8 million views of its “Wings” spot.
According to Volkswagen brand media manager Jennifer Clayton, as noted in the spot, the idea behind “Wings” is that the brand has more vehicles with 100,000 miles on the road than any other manufacturer “and really take on the idea that our vehicles are quality and reliable and last a long time.”
Like Google’s Dahlen, she also mentions Volkswagen’s “Force” spot, which was an early player in the early release game.
“We were one of the few — if not the only advertiser — to do that a couple of years ago and then everybody followed suit. The reason we’ve done it is because it extends the opportunity to communicate whatever our Super Bowl campaign is and make the most of that investment,” Clayton says. “From one day to something spread over 10 to 14, we can really increase the return on investment from our Super Bowl campaign. It turns one spot into a broad campaign and gives us more opportunity to engage with potential customers.”
Volkswagen teased its “Wings” spot this year with a video released January 20, which has about 2 million views.
Tebow and T-Mobile
As YouTube figures demonstrate, these early winners are in good company. On January 31, T-Mobile announced it has teamed up with NFL-contract-less Tim Tebow to make the case for Contract Freedom, the brand’s offer to pay off the contract termination fees of customers who switch to T-Mobile from other carriers and trade in their devices.
The spots mark T-Mobile’s first Super Bowl ads and feature Tebow in “a series of tongue-in-cheek vignettes showing how awesome life can be when you aren’t tied down to a long-term contract,” the brand says.
The “C” Suite
Additional Super Bowl advertisers who have released ads prior to the game include: CarMax’s “Slow Clap,” which has 900,000 views since January 21; Cheerios’ “Gracie,” which has 2.1 million views since January 28; Chobani’s “Bear,” which has 132,000 views since January 28; and Coca-Cola’s “Going All the Way,” which has 1.7 million views since January 27 and which Jennifer Healan, group director of integrated marketing content, describes as a “Great American story and a great Coke story.”
Others include: Dannon Oikos Yogurt’s “The Spill,” which has 2.8 million views since January 25 and features spokesman John Stamos’ return to the Super Bowl alongside former Full House costars Bob Saget and Dave Coulier; Heinz Ketchup’s “Hum,” which has 87,000 views since January 30; Kia’s “The Truth,” which has 1.3 million views since January 28; and Toyota’s “Big Game Ad” starring Terry Crews and the Muppets, which has 2.8 million views since January 28.
In addition, brands that had released videos prior to the publication of ClickZ’s preview have about 3 to 4 million views apiece, including Axe’s “Make Love Not War,” which has 3.8 million views since January 14; Doritos’ “Finger Cleaner,” which has 3 million views since November 24; and Butterfinger’s “#CupTherapy” teaser, which has 3.2 million views since January 17.
Butterfinger is among the brands that have elected to maintain an element of surprise for Sunday.
In addition, anticipation still lies with: H&M, which is asking fans to vote #Covered or #Uncovered in a teaser with David Beckham with 1.4 million views; Intuit, which announced GoldieBlox, a toy company that says it seeks to inspire the next generation of female engineers, won its #TeamSmallBiz promotion and will receive a 30-second ad during the game along with a brief teaser; M&Ms, which released a teaser that indicates the Yellow M&M may be in trouble and that has about 1 million views; and Wonderful Pistachios, which released a teaser with Stephen Colbert with about 72,000 views.
In addition, Coca-Cola says it will air a second spot it has not yet announced in the second quarter, which allows the brand to “have the best of both worlds,” Healan says.
Doritos has not yet revealed which two of the five finalist videos in its Crash the Super Bowl contest will actually air.
And a GoDaddy video with 145,000 views promises a woman will quit her job live in front of 100 million people on Sunday.
Lastly, Esurance also has surprises in store, announcing that immediately following the game, the brand will air a 30-second commercial “unlike anything they’ve ever done — debuting something big (really big) for Twitter users.”
In addition, the insurance brand says, “This is the first time the company has purchased national advertising associated with one of the year’s biggest media events, and in keeping with their uber-efficient approach to insurance, Esurance purchased air time immediately following the game. The time slot provided a savings as compared to an in-game commercial, and Esurance will use it strategically to announce something big.”
Pizza Companies Want a Slice of the Pie
For its part, Pizza Hut hosted live auditions in New York to allow fans to “show off their one-of-a-kind greatness” for a chance to appear in an ad that will air during the pregame show. The brand will create its pregame spot based on footage from the auditions.
It’s part of the brand’s Go for Greatness campaign in which it also compiled a series of YouTube videos that it says define “what going for greatness really means.”
Doug Terfehr, director of public relations at Pizza Hut, says the effort is inspired by Pizza Hut’s new Hand-Tossed pizzas, which are “coming out one-of-a-kind and with less uniformity and more unique features to them,” so #GoForGreatness is “a celebration of that — we’re looking for one-of-a-kind-ness in all of us.”
On January 27, Domino’s teased consumers that it had “finalized a momentous sponsorship tied to Sunday’s annual event.”
Domino’s followed up the announcement on January 31 with a press release saying it has secured a one-year partnership to become “the Official Pizza Sponsor of Groundhog Day.”
Brands Go Social Through Mobile and Video
And on top of the ads themselves, some brands have other interesting elements to look out for.
According to Volkswagen’s Clayton, the brand will monitor Sunday’s conversations from a social media war room with a studio where it will shoot responses from the German engineers in its 2014 teaser and spot.
“We will create real video responses we can tweet out in response to conversations we find appropriate for us to insert ourselves into to increase engagement and do something unique to cut through the clutter,” she adds.
In addition, mobile augmented reality and image recognition platform Blippar partnered with Pepsi to make 19.5 million cans interactive. The specially marked cans include instructions on how to download Blippar and then use the app to scan the cans and take virtual photos with NFL players.
And, finally, Mars Chocolate North America announced that it has partnered with three-time Super Bowl most valuable player Joe Montana to “distribute colorful stop-motion video content and imagery — made with M&M’S Peanut lentils — that puts a unique visual spin on the plays, performances, and pageantry of Super Bowl XLVIII” on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and Instagram.
“Countless brands are going to spend Super Bowl Sunday waiting around for one moment to try to infiltrate conversation, but we wanted to do something different that enhances the viewing experience all game long with the irresistibility of M&M’s and the insights of a legend like Joe Montana,” said Seth Klugherz, senior director of M&M’S Chocolate Candies, in a statement.
“We’re not simply hoping to ‘win the night’ with a single post or tweet — we’re hoping to bring a fresh take to the experience that’s colorful and irresistible to deliver the great story about M&M’s Peanut that’s truly worthy of a stage as big as Super Bowl XLVIII.”
*ClickZ will be covering the Super Bowl live on Sunday. Stay tuned for updates as they happen and follow our tweetboard for tweets in real-time!