I was happy to see that some big name advertisers threw-out the playbook this year and leaked their ads days before the Super Bowl. I know what you were thinking, "Wait… companies are leaking their ads online, so I’ll be forced to sit through 4 hours of “re-runs” on game day? How can I possibly watch four quarters of mediocre football without that magical sense of anticipation?" Well, turns out that the Super Blow ad leaks didn’t herald Armageddon. Instead, they enhanced this year’s Super Bowl advertising.
Here are a number of reasons why this strategy was a win for advertisers and viewers alike:
Welcome to the 21st Century
The question of the moment: how fast can you engage your audience? Seems like every other medium, from album releases to movie trailers to TV series teasers, is using the power of web to generate an early buzz for their products. It only makes sense that America’s advertising Holy Grail, the Super Bowl campaign, has finally joined the party.
Let the web do the work
As Clint Eastwood will gladly point out, Americans have recently been forced to learn how to stretch a dollar. Looks like Honda has figured it out too. The Super Bowl ad leaks allowed way more people to view, share, and discuss the featured products and companies than if only the broadcast viewers were privy to the spots. With the big budgets poured into these spots and the astronomical cost of 2012 Super Bowl ad space ($3.5M for 30 seconds… wow), you might as well get the most bang from your buck.
Show me more
Most Super Bowl commercials run for 30 seconds, some for a minute. The web versions of the leaked ads had no time constraints, so we could sit back and see just how far Jerry Seinfeld was willing to go to get on that waiting list, watch Matthew Broderick’s entire day of playing hooky, and share that kid’s unabridged joy at receiving a new Chevy for graduation. In my opinion, the edited versions just don’t stack up.
Did it air yet?
Among the group of people I watched the Super Bowl with, about half had watched the leaks and half had not. Some of the pre-kickoff conversation included descriptions of the leaked ads, positive and negative. This created anticipation and buzz about those spots, and “did it air yet?” was a common question asked by people returning from beer/food/bathroom trips who were wanted to see a particular spot. So in my experience, the early leaks made people even more interested in the spots.