Although the Super Bowl is always the main event, the commercials shown during the big game have developed into a major spectacle of their own. Companies battle to come up with fresh, unique ideas that can make a lasting impact.
Getting a chance to reach more than 100 million people is a golden opportunity for advertisers. Being able to stand out in a jungle of highly priced productions isn't easy, though. It's one time when creativity usually trumps celebrity.
Once the game kicks off, the commercials start coming at a fast and furious pace. Add in the game and the halftime show, and it might be the most action-packed four hours of television all year. So let's check out some early buzz about what to expect on Super Sunday.
One of the biggest questions to emerge in recent years is whether releasing a Super Bowl ad ahead of time is the right move. It helps increase the length of exposure to the audience, but it obviously takes away from the wow factor during the game itself.
Bud Light should be a great litmus test for future ads. It continued with the "Up For Anything" campaign with a strong commercial that features one of the biggest-selling points these days: nostalgia. It achieves that through Pac-Man, as seen above.
Poll results passed along by Darren Rovell of ESPN suggest viewers don't like the idea of giving away the big moment early, though:
POLL RESULTS: Hey Super Bowl advertisers, 89% of fans say they don't want to see your ads ahead of time pic.twitter.com/chTUa2AxuN— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 24, 2015
Another route that companies have tried is going with a teaser ahead of time. It's enough to provide a glimpse into what they are trying to accomplish without giving the whole thing away. The thinking is that if it's strong enough, people will seek out the full ad during the game.
Snickers provided an example:
This year's controversial ad comes courtesy of Carl's Jr. Bruce Horovitz of USA Today reports it's a regional ad featuring model Charlotte McKinney. Chief marketing officer Brad Haley said the company looked to push the envelope without going too far.
"We don't show things in our ads that you won't see at the beach on any given warm, weekend," he said. "We don't cross the line—but we like to get right to the line."
The ad certainly does exactly that:
More full commercials and teasers will surely be posted as game day moves closer. Other companies will wait until the Super Bowl to roll out their ad campaign and hope it clicks with viewers. There isn't a right answer about how to handle it. At least not yet.
Budweiser, Go Daddy, Pepsi and Doritos are among the annual advertisers. In those cases, there's often even more pressure because the ad will be judged against all of the ones that came before it. Some will hit, and others will miss. That's just the way it goes when the level of competition is high.
There are fewer details about the movie trailers people can expect to see during the big game. Movie companies tend to hold out and try to make a major impact. It's the perfect chance to set the stage for an upcoming blockbuster.
Aurora Banks of KPop Starz reports Jurassic World is the first confirmed movie in the lineup. Whether it will be the original trailer shown above, a variation of it or a completely new look at the hyped film isn't known quite yet.
Joel Amos of Movie Fanatic lists Furious 7, Ted 2 and Entourage among the 11 marquee titles that could roll out a trailer during the game. Brian Gallagher of MovieWeb lists Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as possibilities as well.
So clearly there are more questions than answers about this facet of the Super Bowl commercial game at this stage. That leaves the door open for a movie to make a huge impact, especially if it hasn't been among the rumored options.
Ultimately, that's the goal of every ad that's produced for Super Bowl Sunday. Getting a quick laugh is fine, but the biggest winners are the companies that create something people remember the next day and pass around Monday.
It's not a cheap risk to take. CBS News notes the average 30-second spot goes for $4.5 million. But the reward can far exceed that in publicity if the commercial is a success. That's why some advertisers keep coming back year after year.