What's The Super Bowl Without The Big-Time Ads? It's The Super Bowl As Viewed In Canada

If I’m being honest, I’d say that I’m as excited about Super Bowl XLVIII as the average Canadian. Which is to say, not much. While I’m a fan of American football, the experience of watching the Super Bowl simply isn’t the same during the Canadian simulcast on CTV, namely because of the advertising — or lack thereof.

Let’s face it: much of the hype (and fun) that surrounds Super Bowl mania has less to do with the game and more to do with what’s being advertised. Of the 110 million or so viewers expected to watch this year’s championship game, chances are good that the Super Bowl is the only football game that they’ll watch all year, and many of them will tune in just to see the ads.

For we Canadians, though, our Super Bowl experiences will fall short of our American brethren’s. Sure, we’ll have the same office pools, and sports bars across town will be packed with football fans watching the game. But when the Canadian broadcast cuts to a commercial break, Americans will actually sit and watch the ads, while we’ll do what people usually do during commercial breaks: tune out.

That’s a shame — and a missed opportunity for marketers. Few televised sporting events have the same global reach as the Super Bowl, with nearly a third of the Canadian and American populations tuning in to the big game, respectively. So while American Super Bowl viewers will see fancy ad spots featuring Scarlett Johansson shilling for SodaStream or David Beckham hawking wares for H&M, the ad blackout up north will lead Canadians to see local ads that don’t come anywhere near the creativity or star wattage.

As a point of contrast, the Canadian Football League’s “equivalent” of the Super Bowl, known as the Grey Cup, doesn’t receive nearly the same hype or fun—even in Canada. The average 30-second spot running on this year’s Super Bowl reportedly hit $4 million. Meanwhile, the average 30-second spot that ran during the Nov. 24, 2013, broadcast of the Grey Cup was a mere pittance. In case you’re wondering, the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 45-23.

Despite the lack of big-time ads on display during the Canadian simulcast of Super Bowl XLVIII, I still plan to tune in. And thanks to distribution of the best Super Bowl ads via YouTube and the increased activity on social media—where last year 30% of all tweets were ad-related—I’ll still be able to get a taste of what all of the ad hype is about.

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