Why Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Toyota, and M&Ms are releasing viral previews of their commercials before the showdown between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday
These ads are scoring points with viewers.
Super Bowl 2018 doesn’t kick off until Sunday, but nearly two dozen commercials have already been leaked online. One reason: Since advertisers pay up to $5 million for a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl, they’re looking to squeeze all the value they can get out of that spending.
“The fact that now there’s an Internet to release these things ahead of time is giving added value [to advertisers],” said Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson — who added that advertisers “don’t care” whether you watch it during the game or ahead of kickoff.
Leaking the ads online first is also a way for advertisers to test viewers’ reactions to the ads before they air on television, said Darrin Duber-Smith, a marketing professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. “Marketers want to keep some mystery around: They don’t need to tell the public what’s going to air,” Duber-Smith added; they can choose the most popular ad to run on-air.
Plus,“releasing the ad early allows you to get more trade press,” said Douglas Brundage, an industry expert and Vice President of Strategy at marketing agency Team Epiphany. This kind of press can “seriously impact the careers of people in the marketing industry, who often have taken big risks by spending the money for a Super Bowl ad, and want to get as much out of it as possible.”
The leaked ads are extremely popular: Shareablee, a New York-based firm that tracks consumer engagement data, says that there is more than 50% more interest in this year’s commercials prior to Super Bowl Sunday than last year’s. The firm’s president, Tania Yuki, attributed this to the increasing ease of sharing viral videos on social media, and the convergence of events like the Super Bowl and upcoming Olympic Games in South Korea, which are fueling enthusiasm around sports.
Here are the most viral ads that have been released so far.
1. Budweiser’s “Stand By You” ad, released Jan. 26; 10.3 million YouTube views
Of all the commercials released before Sunday’s game, this one is the most viewed so far. It depicts Budweiser’s philanthropic efforts in supplying “more than 79 million cans of water to cities across the U.S. that were impacted by natural disasters.” This year, the company helped victims of catastrophes in Florida, Puerto Rico, and California.
2. Amazon’s “Alexa Loses Her Voice” ad, released Jan. 31; 10.2 million YouTube views
Call this the case of laryngitis heard ’round the world. In this comical spot, Amazon Alexa unexpectedly goes silent, and the world burst into a collective uproar. “Alexa lost her voice? How is that even possible?” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asks. To patch up the problem, Amazon put a cadre of stars (including Cardi B and Anthony Hopkins) to work filling in.
3. Groupon’s “Who Wouldn’t” ad, released Jan. 25; 8.6 million YouTube views
This ad depicts the harsh the punishment that people who don’t support local businesses — something Groupon says it aims to do — may incur in a hilarious (and somewhat painful) way. Actress Tiffany Haddish narrates the spot.
4. Michelob’s “The Perfect Fit” ad, released Jan. 29; 6 million YouTube views
Actor Chris Pratt (“Jurassic World,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) is training for a new role: Michelob spokesman. In this ad, Pratt is giving the role his all — from working on his biceps with a bottle of beer to decking his house out in Michelob paraphernalia. He’s all about that method actor life… until things take an unexpected turn.
5. Pringles “WOW” ad, released Jan. 25; 4.36 million YouTube views
Who knew that layered Pringles were a thing? SNL alum Bill Hader just discovered them in this ad, and your guests may be itching to try them at Super Bowl party. Just be careful that a contagious case of “WOW” doesn’t spread throughout the crowd.
6. Amazon’s “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” ad, released Jan. 30; 2.07 million YouTube views
As opposed to selling a straight product, this Amazon ad is actually a trailer for Prime’s upcoming television series, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” starring John Krasinski. The program follows Ryan, a CIA analyst who is coaxed into a “deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and allies.”
7. Bud Light’s “The Bud Knight” ad, released Feb. 1; 1.73 million YouTube views
All’s fair in love and war — and Bud Light Land. In this earth-shaking ad, an intrepid knight clad in Bud Light regalia saves the day for a brave group of soldiers under attack from an unforgiving enemy. It’s doubtful you’ll have the same battlefield skills if you open a Bud Light, though.
8. Sprint “Evelyn” ad, released Feb. 1; 484,000 YouTube views
AI automaton Evelyn is here to tell you why Sprint’s plan is competitive — but beware: She and her robot lackeys don’t play nice.
9. Doritos “Blaze” vs. Mountain Dew “Ice” ad, released Jan. 30; 339,000 YouTube views
“Hush your mouth” — Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage are ready to #spitfire. This ad pits two thespian legends against each other in a rap faceoff. Dinklage is pulling his weight for the new spicy Doritos “Blaze” flavor, while Freeman is bringing the ice for Mountain Dew’s “Ice” soft drink. This epic rap battle is so cold, that it’s hot.
10. M&Ms “Human” ad, released Jan. 29; 284,000 views
Oh, the perils of being a little piece of candy. In this ad, one of M&Ms famous talking mascots, the tiny red M&M, discovers a lucky penny, wishes to be human, and turns into Danny DeVito IRL. Mr. M&M can’t get enough of the fact that, in DeVito’s body, nobody wants to devour him.
For the complete list of all the Super Bowl 2018 commercials that have been released prior to the big game on Sunday, Feb. 4, AdAge has a full roundup.
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