It’s the Superbowl, and with hundreds of thousands of eyeballs are fixed on the television this weekend the real winners of this game are the advertisers.
Commercials have become a part of the Super Bowl Sunday hype where advertisers spend millions of dollars on 30 to 60 seconds to showcase a product.
“This year an advertising spot for the Super Bowl is between 3.7 and 3.8 million dollars,” said Advertising Age writer Brian Steinberg.
The commercials consist of humour, celebrity surprises and high production value.
“Super Bowl ads traditionally have a much higher budget and are much more entertaining and creatively ‘risky’ than everyday TV commercials,” said Jane Bongers, coordinator for Humber’s creative advertising program in an email to Humber News.
The NFL’s effort to create a big event and a massive audience draws advertisers to the game said Steinberg but advertisers who take big risks with the content of their commercial can face major drawbacks.
“The Super Bowl has the broadest possible audience which means the ability to offend heightens,” said Steinberg.
He said the commercial with the most buzz around it this year is Volkswagen’s “get happy” which has been released on YouTube and is facing criticism for being racist.
“We tested the commercial on a focus group of 100 Jamaican Americans who did not find the ad offensive,” said Leanne Fessions, product public relations with Volkswagen.
She said Volkswagen’s goal was not to offend but entertain but acknowledges that not everyone is a fan.
This illustrates Steinberg’s point; with such a broad audience the ability to offend is greater.
There have been many commercials in Super Bowl past that have turned out to be epic fails.
“In 2007, Snicker’s ran a Super Bowl ad with two guys kissing which had a major backlash,” said Steinberg.
He said an athletic footwear company Just For Feet ran a commercial during the 1999 Super Bowl, which had such a bad reaction that they eventually went out of business.
The commercial featured a group of white men tracking a barefoot Kenyan runner, the men force a pair of Nikes on his feet and he starts screaming.
But when done well, the commercials can be as legendary as the outcome of the games.
Steinberg said Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial ‘1984’ was the start off of what the commercials have become today
However a lot has changed since 1984, it’s no longer just a commercial it’s a multiplatform campaign which has advertisers embracing YouTube and social media.
“Social media, teaser commercials and PR are being used to create pre-Super Bowl hype,” said Jane Bongers.
Leanne Fessen said Volkswagen started releasing their commercials before the game on YouTube three years ago to build anticipation for the Super Bowl.
This year they have a presence on Twitter with #gethappy and www.getingethappy.com .
Social media might further audience engagement Steinberg said it takes away one of the key elements that make these commercials such a success.
“It ruins the surprise,” he said. “The only commercial that stood out to me last year was the Clint Eastwood commercial for Chrysler and that was the only commercial that wasn’t released early.”
Super Bowl teasers and early release commercials for 2013: