Commentary

Hey, Super Bowl Advertisers, Whatever Happened To Surprise Reveal?

Despite the fact that we’re still in the playoffs (Brady-Manning and Newton-Palmer both look to be pretty good league championship games -- personally, I’m hoping for a Newton-Brady Super Bowl where Brady simultaneously passes the torch and dunks it in Newton’s upstart face, but that’s beside the point), advertisers are already gearing up for the Super Bowl by releasing teasers, full ads, and other bits on YouTube’s AdBlitz platform.

It’s safe to say -- with scientific certainty in no way influenced by nostalgia -- that the best part of the ads at the Super Bowl is the reveal. So why is the Super Bowl turning into the equivalent of the holiday shopping craze for advertisers, who are releasing these ads before the championship teams have even been decided?

30-second Super Bowl spots this year are going to cost $5 million, up 11% over last year. With cord-cutting gaining popularity, the super-popular live event gives advertisers what they so desperately crave now that their audience is flying away: asses in seats.

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But even as consumers sit down to watch the game, their attention is divided between their phones and the TV. Now advertisers are reaching out to fans where they are, and increasingly that is their mobile devices.

Both previewing ads and second-screen activity during the game are more likely to happen on a mobile device. Since mobile video took off last year in a big way, it's likely that the trend will skew even more heavily in mobile's favor.

People watched the equivalent of 1,600 years’ worth of Super Bowl ads last year, with 40% of that viewing happening before the game day, and an additional 300,000 hours happening on the day of the game.

We can’t blame advertisers for chasing after consumers; they are, after all, fickle creatures. And besides, it’s consumers' own fault that they can’t keep their pudgy fingers out of the cookie jar and wait till game day.

Still, looking at how much the landscape has changed even in the last four years, I can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia for a time when ads weren’t prematurely revealed to the world like Janet Jackson’s bestarred bosom during that “wardrobe malfunction."

2 comments about "Hey, Super Bowl Advertisers, Whatever Happened To Surprise Reveal?".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, January 21, 2016 at 12:25 p.m.

    On the other hand, all of the critics and columnists who have to write about the ads and have them published the day after the game no longer have to watch and pay attention during the game. They can pre-write their reviews and then relax and have a beer like the rest of us.

    For most advertisers, there's just too much money involved between the media and production. If I'm going to have a dog piloting a spaceship to promote my beer, I want people to know about it and see it as much as I can. When it shows during the game, rather than the surprise, you get the insider knowledge, "I've seen this, it's great!"

    I hope Brady never makes it to that game.

  2. pj bednarski from Media business freelancer replied, January 21, 2016 at 2:45 p.m.

    You're absolutely right, but writers still have to watch to see where the ad falls in the game, as in does it appear when the game is already a blow out (and relatively, fewer are watching) or the opposite, and so on. It is pretty exciting work! 
    And i hope Brady doesn't get to the game either. 

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