Super Bowl Marketing: Forgoing the “Aha” Moment For Pre-Game Talk Value

Two types of people will tune into the big game on Sunday night:  diehard football fans and those interested in the ads. The latter will interact in a room full of friends who mute the game and crank the volume during the commercials.  But unless these ad fans have been under a rock for the past two weeks, they won’t be seeing these commercials for the first time.  They’ve already watched them online and may have even had a hand in how they end. 

This year, the cost for a 30-second Super Bowl spot is at an all-time high – up to $4 million for 30 seconds.  So smart marketers are leveraging their $4 million investment a little further by optimizing when and how consumers see their messages and how they get involved. And why not? Last year, the game brought in a total of 111 million viewers and, according to YouTube, there were an additional 300 million views of those same ads online.  Scott Campbell, general manager for integrated marketing communications at Colgate-Palmolive told the New York Times today: “We don’t see any down side” to forgoing the “aha!” moment during the game.”  Colgate bought a Super Bowl commercial for its Mennen Speed Stick deodorant and uploaded the spot to the brand’s YouTube channel yesterday.

To ensure that there is still some expectation during the game, marketers are using social media to engage consumers like never before by allowing them to choose how the ad ends.  Audi has produced multiple endings to a prom scene where consumers can “choose their own adventure.” And Budweiser is engaging fans via Twitter to name its newest Clydesdale.   

While this approach may not have been intentional, stirring up a little controversy is an approach that’s netted a lot of attention for Volkswagen. Its Super Bowl spot, which features an actor playing a white Minnesotan who speaks in a Jamaican accent and encourages drivers to “get happy,” has been a hot topic in national media all week.  As of this afternoon, the spot has been viewed 3.5 million times on YouTube.

This makes Vokeswagen the most talked about brand, even before the game starts. 

Image courtesy of Budweiser