Why are we seeing Super Bowl ads before the game?

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Why are we seeing Super Bowl ads before the game?

For those who aren’t initiated, the hype surrounding Super Bowl commercials may seem downright bizarre. Most of us use every tool available, from ad blockers to DVRs to avoid these commercials, but for one day in February, people actively seek out these advertisements. Obviously this piqued the interest of advertisers who for years have been shoveling millions of dollars into crafting the perfect Super Bowl commercial. This got brands and advertisers asking themselves how they can expand the window of interest in their ads. The solution that many companies have come to is posting their ads to YouTube during the week leading up to the game.

Some would argue that the early release could ruin the fun of seeing them for the first time during the big game, but the numbers seem to show otherwise. Millions flock to YouTube to catch these ads before they air on TV. Business insider reported that in 2013, commercials that were posted before the game were viewed 3.4 times more than those that weren’t released early over the course of the following year. Part of the reason for this could be because brands can initially release their message without the clutter of the dozens of other ads that air on game day. If there are only one or a few ads released on that day, they have a much greater change of dominating the conversation on social media. In addition to being able to see the ads early, it gives social media users a platform to share ads, giving them significantly more reach than ever before. Another tactic that we’ve seen increasingly more of over the last year was the utilization of controversy as a conversation starter. For example, during last year’s Super Bowl, Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” commercial centered on the stories of the company’s immigrant founders. Releasing the ad before the game allowed for people to begin debating about and sharing the ad before anyone would have seen it in years past. Another, simpler reason for this phenomena is that it enables the ads reach more eyes. For example, international viewers or those who simply aren’t interested in watching a three and a half hour game for some commercials can now see them beforehand.  Lastly, it seems that posting these commercials early could potentially end up building more hype for them during the game, as some savvy advertisers have begun releasing teasers for their commercials to work like movie trailers. For instance, Pepsi released a six second teaser for their super bowl ad featuring Super Model Cindy Crawford that has garnered nearly 100 million views.

As more companies post their commercials early each year, it seems that the trend is here to stay. Keep an eye out for ads dropping in the days leading up to the game and the social media buzz that follows.


1 Comment

John Brocksmith

John Brocksmith

January 17, 2018at 11:32 pm

I’ve definitely noticed this trend over the past few years. As a consumer and annual watcher of the Super Bowl, I can say that I personally do not look up the ads before the game, as I believe it takes away from the experience of actually watching the Super Bowl. I also understand though how releasing ads early is great for business and for increasing traffic. With the growing demand for 6-second ads in sports, I’m curious to see how this may impact companies releasing Super Bowl ads early in the future as well.

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