You say you’re not a Katy Perry fan? Well, imagine that. Lucky for you, you’ve got an alternative this Super Bowl. This year YouTube will be adding its own halftime show to your bulging buffet of visual content. They guarantee it will be brimming with original content including fake ads, music and a general array of viral mayhem. The potential to capture even a slice of the Super Bowl eye pie is enormous, not to mention an excellent opportunity to boost the profile of YouTube’s own cast of kooks. Think about it: YouTube makes billions of dollars on people re-watching actual Super Bowl ad content and they have their own original Super Bowl half time content.It’s like eating your cash cake and having it too.
As a marketer (and a Vikings fan) I tend to pay more attention to the Super Bowl ads than I do the actual game. Sadly, this year is no exception with the Vikes long gone from contention and rebuilding, literally and figuratively, for the future. But hey, we still have the ads. And, as always, it will be the Super Bowl of branding in a 5+ hour knockdown, drag out bout for mind space supremacy. NBC is charging an average of $3.5 million for each 30-second spot. Light years from the $42,000 charged for spots during the first Super Bowl in 1967. One big change this year, besides the price tag, is how many ads I’ve already had the chance to see. In the past, we all sat with baited nacho breath and watched each commercial break carefully so we didn’t miss that ONE commercial that everyone would be talking about the next day. This year, no worries there. Go ahead, grab a chicken wing or five because most of the ads have already been posted on YouTube for weeks. This is a relatively new tactic. These big money broadcast ads were kept under lock and key, awaiting the big reveal in game time real time. Now, brands are feeling their way around the power of social media and viral momentum. They know the upside of building a following before and sustaining it after. This year, we’ve seen leaked ads and teasers from Super Bowl big hitters like M&M, Kia, Toyota, Budweiser (my personal favorite above), and many more – all within the last few days. So, does showing the big ad before the big day drive excitement? Or does it kill the buzz and deflate the power of the big reveal? The definitive answer is: maybe. It’s a gamble. And we’ll see who the winners really are for 2014. Stay tuned. I know I will, between a few glasses of beer and myriad of dips, chips and conversation. One of 111 million other people half paying attention and wondering which ads will win.