5 Top Trends for 2013 Super Bowl Commercials

The Super Bowl is the most watched single broadcast on television every year. Last year’s Super Bowl, which saw the Giants defeat the Patriots, became the most watched single broadcast in television history with an average of 111.3 million viewers tuning in. It is no secret that marketers look at the Super Bowl as the premier spot to start a conversation about their brand. With prices for a 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl reaching an average of $4 million, marketers are pulling out all the stops to gain the attention of the viewer and become part of the national conversation that lives on long after the Super Bowl is over.

This article from Time discusses the 5 trends you can expect from commercials within this year’s Super Bowl telecast. One of the biggest trends from last year’s Super Bowl that has continued into 2013 is the use of social media to gain buzz prior to the game. Brands like Mercedes, VW, Bud Light, and Skechers have released all or parts of their planned Super Bowl ads weeks leading up to the game. The goal by releasing all or part of the ad is to simply start the conversation as early as possible and gain extra ad impressions in doing so.

Not all advertisers have bought into this theory of starting the conversation early. Chrysler, for instance, is not releasing any information about their campaign to invoke the element of surprise. Most will remember Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” commercial featuring Clint Eastwood during last year’s Super Bowl halftime. The ad was longer than the typical Super Bowl ad, 2 minutes, and caught viewers by surprise with the use of Eastwood’s recognizable voice. The ad received 4 million YouTube views in the first 36 hours following the airing during the game and dominated the conversation coming out of the Super Bowl.

In a sense, both approaches utilize social media but in different ways. By releasing teasers, brands try to start the conversation ahead of time while creating anticipation for the ad. Chrysler’s approach plays up the element of surprise and allows the social conversation to happen almost naturally. Personally I feel that Chrysler’s approach was more successful. I felt brands that released or teased their ads ahead of the 2012 Super Bowl were essentially disappointing and overhyped while the Chrysler ad caught my attention and drove me to social media to join the conversation.

My questions to the class are:

1)      Which approach do you think is more successful in catching your attention and making you notice/discuss the ad further?

2)      Which Super Bowl ad from this year’s game drove you to social media to join the conversation?


3 thoughts on “5 Top Trends for 2013 Super Bowl Commercials

  1. I am going to watch the Super Bowl this year, even though my team is not in it and I don’t have much of an interest in either of the two teams playing. I plan on watching it primarily for the commercials. Being an Accounting major and having a background in business, it is always talked about how much of a big deal the Super Bowl is to advertisers. It is the one time in the world that most of the people in the nation are watching the same channel at the same time. This is a chance for companies to get into the heads of the nation. I personally watch the commercials for the interest in the actual commercial, rather than the company behind it.

    As for the first question, I agree with bpalmenteri. I think the element of surprise is a powerful thing. However, by showing a clip of a commercial, you catch the viewer’s attention and cause them to look out for the commercial in order to see what happens. They are both very powerful strategies, but I believe in the element of surprise.

  2. I think I agree that the element of surprise holds more value than previewing the commercial for consumers. There is a caveat to that. Contests, most notably run by Doritos, over the pasts few years have really stimulated engagement by have users generate idea, content and eventually voting on the commercial they liked the best out of a number of options. This helps to maintain some measure of suspense while simultaneously gauging viewer reactions en mass. Here is a little cheat sheet from Ad Age about which commercials were hyped beforehand.


  3. I have always appreciated the element of surprise. My agency produced 2 commercials for the Super Bowl-the E-Trade baby and the Leon Sandcastle NFL commercial. The E-Trade baby was leaked while the Leon Sandcastle was kept a surprise and I believe there was more buzz post-Super Bowl about Leon Sandcastle.

    I thought Coke did a good job of bringing people online after their racing commercial. I logged on to vote for the showgirls. Oreo also did a great job of having their agency monitor Twitter and create an ad on the spot stating that you could still “dunk in the dark” after the blackout. More brands need to monitor their social networks around these events so they can continue the conversation with their audience.

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