For years, Super Bowl marketing has been the big splash for larger companies and well-known brands to showcase their best and newest ads. The promotions used to be kept under lock and key until the big day, when everyone who’s anyone watched the Super Bowl, football fan or not. Over the past few seasons, however, some companies have been previewing or releasing their ads early, to the delight of social media users worldwide. Super Bowl advertising has grown into a niche of its own, broadcast across the Internet and shared in social circles to become almost as celebrated as the game itself. Keep in mind that last year’s premier football event drew about 111.3 million TV viewers, a record-setting audience for the third year in a row.
With companies putting a large share of their marketing dollars into ads for the big day, they frequently find a free, often unsolicited, forum for their ads to run in social media circles. The ads go viral and circulate online for days, weeks and even months after the football game is over. One reason this works is the sheer number of people who simply like watching the startling or hilarious 30-second to 90-second spots. Another is that people like to share entertaining content, whatever it may be.
One of the most recent advertising trends is for companies like Kraft, Mercedes-Benz and Hulu to promote their promotions to increase chatter and interest. Some advertisers are airing a portion of the new ad or teasing it online without showing too much. They want their ads to garner attention without diminishing the big bang that comes from the first time their message runs in front of the largest TV audience of the year. It makes sense. This strategy worked last year for several commercials. According to video measurement statistics from Unruly Media, there was a 129% increase in ads shared through social media outlets from 2011 to 2012, and three-quarters of the top 20 most-shared advertisements were promoted before last year’s Super Bowl XLVI.
Let’s face it, the big game is one of the few times that viewers don’t change the channel as soon as the commercial comes on at the break. As the Super Bowl XLVII clash between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens draws closer to its Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, air date, the advertisers will be gearing up for their own big game of sorts, and so will their fans.
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