The Super Bowl has developed into far more than a football game. It's one of the year's biggest events and advertisers know it's a chance to make a serious impression. A good commercial is enough to get people talking about a company for days or longer.
It's a costly endeavor, though. Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times reported in early December that Fox, which is broadcasting this season's big game, had already sold out all of its advertising slots with an average fee of around $4 million.
That's a small price to pay if the commercial becomes a viral hit, however. Some companies have enjoyed consistent success over the years while others are looking for that breakthrough. Let's check out some sponsors likely to shine on Super Sunday.
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Broncos -2.5, per Vegas Insider
Budweiser, led by manufacturer Anheuser-Busch, is one of the groups that has become a Super Bowl staple. Through the use of animals, most notably frogs and Clydesdales, they have been able to create a theme associated directly with the product.
That's crucial because there will be several adds during the game that catch the eye of viewers, but when asked which company it was for, many won't remember. Without that connection, the overall impact of the ad is severely diminished.
And, as Jamie Mottram of USA Today showcases, the upward trend of commercial costs makes it important that companies leave their mark:
Last year, Budweiser struck gold with the story of a young foal and a trainer, which showcases the enduring bond between the pair. It was the latest in a long line of notable Super Bowl ads, and it would be a surprise if the streak didn't continue in 2014.
GoDaddy is another Super Bowl commercial success story. The company has been around for nearly two decades, but its edgy ads during the big game really helped it reach a new level. Once again, it's the brand association that plays a key role.
Jack Neff of Ad Age passed along the results of a study from research firm Communicus, which estimates 80 percent of the commercials don't help sell the product. The firm's CEO, Jeri Smith, explained why the ads don't usually add up to success:
The advertisers really dial up the entertainment quotient to pop to the top of the USA Today rankings and such. But we find the brand association with Super Bowl commercials is much lower than you'd get with a typical buy, just because of the way the creative is structured.
GoDaddy has been able to strike the right balance between entertainment and making it clear which company the commercial represents, to help for recall after the game.
As this year's teaser shows, Danica Patrick will take center stage for the company again in 2014.
Finally, one early contender in this year's race for top ad is Dannon for its Oikos yogurt commercial. By bringing together former stars from the hit show Full House, Dannon already has people talking and that should continue right through the game.
Which will produce the best ad?
Releasing a preview of the ad before the Super Bowl is always tricky. While it can provide an early boost, it also tends to lessen the overall impact if the final ad (or ads) during the game doesn't live up to the hype.
People will be looking for the Full House spots to see how they build off the teaser. If Dannon came up with some more memorable banter between the trio, it should allow the company to start building its own Super Bowl commercial resume like Budweiser and GoDaddy.