The Super Bowl is as much about commercials as it has ever been about football.
It’s the sole event where, year after year, brands and agencies pull out all the stops to showcase their (multi) million dollar ideas.
So considering the general excitement around the Super Bowl, especially as someone who works in the advertising sphere, I’m none too thrilled at the latest trend of Super Bowl commercial teasers & early débuts.
Every day, some new clip, gif, or other such preview is released, offering a sample of what will air during the big game. Worse still, full commercials are being released days, even a full week ahead of the game itself.
Watching these commercials when they are released on YouTube is like getting your Christmas presents early—it seems like a good idea when you’re ripping through the wrapping paper, but it leaves an empty space under the tree come December 25th.
I understand why agencies & brands are releasing commercials early—it extends the buzz and might just earn you a longer tenure in the viral spotlight. More still, it limits the chances of your TV spot getting buried in the mass of memorable content that airs during the Super Bowl.
But collectively, this behavior ultimately works against agencies and brands.
You could argue that brands are merely adapting to an increasingly digital marketing ecosystem—one in which YouTube, Facebook, and even Twitter are running native video—but in this case specifically, these tactics effectively reduce eliminate the “spectacle” factor. There’s no communal excitement, surrounded by friends as the ads premiere for the first time. Now these ads are being seen during lunch at work. Alone. With headphones on. Even when the ad is brilliant, it’s enjoyed in isolation. Even when it’s “shared,” it’s rarely, actually shared.
By showing off their big TV spot early, brands and agencies are de-eventizing the one night of the year where people come together and actually get excited to see advertisements (and, I guess, football too).
If I’ve seen your ad before the Super Bowl, I won’t be rapturously sitting through a second viewing when it airs during the game’s broadcast; I’ll do what I do for any other commercial break during any other football game—take it as an opportunity to grab another slice of pepperoni.
And now you’ve wasted millions of dollars to be a soundtrack to my insatiable desire for pizza.
Just think of all the pizza you could have bought me with that money!