Let's be honest: A good deal of people will tune in to the game just for the Super Bowl 2013 ads.
These people may not be the biggest football fans, or maybe their team is not in the game. Regardless, all they want to see is the funniest commercials.
These folks will probably be busy eating and socializing during the early parts of the game—the focus will be on the chips and wings instead of the intricacies of the read-option.
Companies will need to realize this. No one remembers ads from the first minute of the first quarter. No one remembers ads that come out a week before. They remember them in the heat of the game, from the second half on.
If a company reveals an ad too early, then it loses a lot of effectiveness.
With so many companies leaking out ads well ahead of its scheduled air time, it loses some of its luster and the audience will look away.
The best part about an ad on Super Bowl Sunday is to get the extra eyeballs on a brand and to hope that those eyeballs turn into customers. But you can't get new customers if no one's paying attention. So companies need to place the ad at a time when everyone is watching.
Putting an ad out two weeks before the game starts means that it's just another ad, not one that comes with the glitz of being on Super Bowl Sunday.
Placing an ad anytime after the second half is smart—the eating has stopped, people have stopped socializing, no one has seen it beforehand, and the focus is squarely on the game.
If a company places an ad too early—say, the middle of the first quarter, or worse, a few days before—it runs the risk of too many people in the bathroom, or in the kitchen or on their smart phones.
Of course, it's more expensive to place an ad later in the game. But the pay-off is completely worth it.
Consider this: No one knows too much about GoDaddy.com other than its Super Bowl ads. Those are always later in the game, they're not leaked beforehand and millions of people know and talk about the ad. That's invaluable to a company.
The best ads will catch everyone by surprise. If they're released ahead of time, no one will be talking about them at the water cooler.
Indeed, the most memorable ads will be towards the end of the game, because that's when everyone is tuning in. The companies that get their ads in too early will miss the chance to get their message in front of everyone and won't be nearly as effective.