For decades, the annual Superbowl broadcast had been the launching platform for the most innovative and, sometimes, controversial television ads of the year. As the event within the event, viewers have come to expect entertainment, with the ads themselves often outshining the play on the field for brilliance while others are worthy of the promotional equivalent of a Razzie award.
Just a few short years ago, ad content was kept under wraps until the actual airing with nothing more than rumors circulating. Superbowl partygoers would discuss the highlights between plays, with the dissection continuing the next day amongst morning drive radio personalities and around office water coolers. All except the most notable commercial spot would eventually fade into oblivion.
For many advertisers, the anticipation that a simple announcement of buying airtime during the Superbowl isn’t enough. Neither is leaking the content of the ad. Now it’s simply not the event within the event, but the event before the event in the form of ad teasers. YouTube is the platform where the drama is in play with major players such as Toyota, Fiat, Coke, Doritos and Mercedes-Benz vying for attention. So far, it’s the Mercedes commercial featuring Kate Upton complete with soap suds, a revealing tank top and Daisy Duke shorts that’s capturing the spotlight. Coke is making a splash by asking online surfers to vote for which character group should make the final cut for the Superbowl ad. Whatever the modus operandi, the teasers represent additional bang for the advertising buck as 30-second spots are going for up to $4 million during the big broadcast.
Exposure is expected to increase during the game itself as viewers, with smartphone devices in hand, will Tweet, Facebook, Redit, Tumble or make their views known on Instagram. These days, a Superbowl ad is nothing without social commentary. That instant chatter is what some advertisers are banking on by holding back video teasers. Just because a teaser hasn’t streamed through thousands of homes doesn’t mean it won’t be worth its advertising weight. Chances are the hidden ones will produce the biggest bang of all.