Super Bowl Viewers Get Peek At Ads

Super Bowl advertisers no longer are keeping spots a secret until the Big Game. They're releasing online snippets of their ads or longer video trailers that allude to the action in the Game Day spot. It's an effort to squeeze more publicity out of advertising's biggest stage by creating pregame buzz.
By
Associated Press,

NEW YORK (AP) — Super Bowl advertisers are learning the art of the tease.

Supermodel Kate Upton appears in an online Mercedes-Benz video in a low-cut top. An unknown man wakes up with his face covered in smeared lipstick and his hands bound in furry handcuffs in a Gildan Activewear clip. And "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan seemingly curses in a spot for Kraft's Mio flavored drops.

Story continues after the ad

"Hey, can you say (bleep) on TV?" he asks in the spot titled "Bleep."

Super Bowl advertisers no longer are keeping spots a secret until the Big Game. They're releasing online snippets of their ads or longer video trailers that allude to the action in the Game Day spot.

It's an effort to squeeze more publicity out of advertising's biggest stage by creating pregame buzz. Advertisers are shelling out $4 million to get their 30-second spots in front of the 111 million viewers expected to tune into the game. But they're looking for ways to reach even more people: About half of the more than 30 super Bowl advertisers are expected to have teaser ads this year, up from 10 last year, according to Hulu, which aggregates Super Bowl ads on its AdZone Web site.

"It's a great way to pique people's interest," said Paul Chibe, chief marketing officer at Anheuser-Busch, which introduced snippets of one of its Super Bowl ads showing a woman in a shiny dress striding down a hallway with a beer. "If you create expectations before the game people will want to look for your ad in the telecast."

Brand Connections

There's an art to teasers. Each spot, which can run from a few seconds to over a minute long, is intended to drive up hype by giving viewers clues about Game Day ads. But the key is to not give too much away. So marketers must walk a fine line between revealing too much - or too little - about their Super Bowl ads.

Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed said introducing a teaser helps people feel as if they're "in the know" about the company's Super Bowl ad before it airs. The company's teaser shows an elderly man, who is also the star of its Game Day ad, doing wheelies in a scooter on a football field.

"On game day, we want people to say, 'Shh, shh, shh. Here comes the ad,'" he says.

Some companies have been successful using Super Bowl teasers in the past. Last year, Volkswagen's teaser that showed dogs barking "The Imperial March" from the Star Wars movie was a hit. In fact, it was almost as popular as the Game Day ad, which had a Star Wars-themed twist ending. Both the teaser and the ad each received about 16 million views on YouTube.com.

But other spots fall flat, or worse, are all but been forgotten once the mystery is revealed during the Big Game. For instance, Bridgestone put out several teasers for its Super Bowl ad last year. But the Game Day ad itself did not show up the USA Today AdMeter, which ranks the popularity of ads.

"It makes sense that people would want to get more mileage out of their ads than just a single viewing on the Super Bowl because of the cost," said Barbara Lippert, columnist at mediapost.com. "But it's a big risk. It can have a big reward, too, but what usually happens is the spots just don't live up to the hype. The effect is amplified if you release it early."

To be sure, no matter how carefully marketers try to control pre-game buzz, sometimes it gets away from them. Volkswagen, following its past success with "The Imperial March," teaser, is facing some criticism this year.

On Monday, it released its Super Bowl ad showing a Minnesotan office worker who adopts a Jamaican accent because he's so happy with his car. Some online columnists called it culturally insensitive because it shows a white man adopting an accent associated with black Jamaicans.

Volkswagen said the accent is intended to convey a "relaxed cheerful demeanor."

Still, some ad experts say by releasing the ad early, Volkswagen might have spared itself backlash later. After all, now they have time to tinker with the spot before it airs.

"Even though it's not a good ad, they managed to get as much attention this year as they did last year before the game," Lippert, the ad critic, says. "It's amazing to use America as their test kitchen, which they did."

Here are some teasers on the Web:

Mercedes-Benz Kate Upton teaser

Volkswagen's "Get In. Get Happy" ad

Gildan Activewear teaser

Kraft's Mio ad with "30 Rock's Tracy Jordan

Budweiser Black Crown Lager teaser

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 26, 2016
  • 1.
    4.4/12
  • 2.
    2.8/8
  • 3.
    2.5/7
  • 4.
    1.5/4
  • 5.
    0.8/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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