To say I’m excited about the Super Bowl on Sunday would be an understatement. Of course, I’m excited for the Super Bowl every year – there’s never a better excuse to gather dozens of people in a small room, eat an enormous amount of unhealthy food, and watch brands duke it out for hours with cute and/or hilarious and/or touching commercials.
Don't Miss: Today's Electronics Bargains at Woot.com
This year, there just happens to be an especially important football game on at the same time, starring my home team’s amazing defense. (Watch out, Denver.)
However, most people watching the Super Bowl will be in it for the commercials, as I usually am. In a recent survey from the The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights, about 25% of the Super Bowl audience is in it for the commercials. The rest either watch it just to get together with friends (17.3 percent) or the half time show (10.2 percent). Shockingly, only about half of viewers actually watch the Super Bowl to watch the game itself.
The problem with these numbers is that more and more advertisers are releasing Super Bowl commercials ahead of the game, hoping to leverage the power of social media to drive virility and brand awareness in a way that wasn’t possible before the mainstream adoption of social media and technology that could power streaming of multimedia. It wasn’t until the past year or two that most consumers carried a mobile device (with many even making it their primary device) and had the bandwidth and data plans to affordably stream video. This confluence of emerging technology and its mainstream adoption means that more consumers than ever can watch video ads on demand – and this year, brands are taking note, “leaking” their Super Bowl ads early.
So far, 23 out of about 50 brands advertising during the Super Bowl have released their spots, according to Marketing Land, a site that’s tracking the social media mentions in game time commercials. Some of these ads that have gained significant traction include Budweiser's “Puppy Love” ad, which attracted 17mm views in just two days, and Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt’s “The Spill”, which stars John Stamos, Bob Saget & Dave Coulier from “Full House”, whom have leveraged the traction to promote Dannon (and themselves) even more with appearances on Reddit and Jimmy Fallon this week. Interestingly, though, many of these commercials are lacking certain calls-to-action that we saw last year, such as hashtags or other inclusions of social media. This leads me to think that these aren’t the final versions of the ads; either brands will include a hashtag or twitter handle to drive conversation fin the ad that runs specifically during the game, or an entirely different version of the brand’s ad will run during the game.
If that doesn’t happen, though, we may soon be seeing the death of the Super Bowl Ad. If most consumers already watched the majority of the ads before the game, where is the surprise in seeing it during the Super Bowl? At one point, talking about Super Bowl ads was water cooler fodder at offices for days (or even weeks) at offices. Now, as ads are leaked almost a week before the big game, chatter about the commercials occurs via social media, peaking within a day or two of the release and dying out before the day it is supposed to air.
No longer are viewers excited about the ads as we’ve already seen most via social media – and unless brands surprise us with a separate version for the Super Bowl, expect to see the death of the Super Bowl ad as we know it within the next few years, which could drastically impact viewership – and how we experience watching the game entirely.