Super Bowl 2018: Eagles vs. Patriots TV Schedule, Commercials and Start TimeFebruary 1, 2018
The stakes have never been higher as the 2018 Super Bowl approaches.
It sounds hyperbolic on first pass, but it's true when it comes to the advertising surrounding the affair between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.
Of course, this narrative applies to the game itself as well. For all we know, it's the last shot Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have at another Lombardi Trophy.
For the Eagles, it's a chance at revenge in a Super Bowl rematch and a chance to perhaps craft a potential dynasty of their own as they head into the biggest game of all with a backup quarterback under center.
For those who are more interested in the commercials surrounding the game, though—and they are likely the majority—this year's ad campaigns feel like the stakes are even higher than the game itself.
2018 Super Bowl
Date: Sunday, Feb. 4
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kickoff Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Patriots minus-4.5, Over/Under 48
It's important to keep in mind the NFL draws a gigantic audience for the Super Bowl in large part because many only tune in for the ads.
So much so, a 30-second spot in the 2018 Super Bowl will cost north of $5 million, according to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch. Contrast that with the MLB, where a similar spot during Game 7 of the World Series costs advertisers about $500,000, according to SI.com's Charlotte Carroll.
Call it a symbiotic relationship—the Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the world and has helped the ad side of things blossom. Advertisers have helped lure even more people into the game as they take a more Hollywood-esque slant on the creative side—telling stories, releasing commercials early and even making trailers for commercials that will air during the game.
Amazon, for example, is spearheading this trend in 2018 and just dropped a funny teaser trailer before an all-out campaign promoting Alexa:
It's smart for companies to get the most out of their costly advertising buy-ins at this point, something Mountain Dew and Doritos seem ready to do as well.
Known for hilarious spots over the years, the two combined for an intriguing teaser trailer recently featuring actors Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman:
Even though competition is fierce in this market, it isn't often we see companies call each other out by name during spots.
Until this year. Known for a sassy, hilarious social-media presence on Twitter, Wendy's unleashes a full-on assault on McDonald's during their spot this year:
Elsewhere, other companies don't bother with teaser trailers, instead opting to outright release the ad early. It seems counterproductive, but those in charge of $5 million spots or more wouldn't take such an approach if it didn't work.
Avocados From Mexico, known for funny ads over the years and as an example of how a brand can blow up globally thanks to the Super Bowl, just dropped its full 60-second ad:
Speaking of companies that use the platform to blow up, Squarespace is a good recent example ready to steal the spotlight once again.
This time the company trotted out trailers with a certain Keanu Reeves, with the Super Bowl ad itself aiming to serve as a launching point for a much longer campaign:
Evolution of media itself can explain the ever-booming cost and importance of these ads, as well as the bravery it seems to take when it comes to shooting trailers for a 30-second ad or outright releasing the ad early.
Mainly, blame (or thank) social media.
"You want to make a commercial more interactive for the consumer," assistant professor of marketing at the University of Nebraska Yanhui Zhao told CNN.com's Jill Disis. "Marketers really want to win the second screen exposure. If the ad can be interactive, and if there's the motivation for consumers to share the ad on their social media, it can really increase exposure a lot."
The goal now is interaction via social media and shares. If an add creates emotion and gets shared online during the two-week period surrounding the Super Bowl or beyond, the advertisers make long-term gains on the investment as opposed to the one-and-done ads of the past.
As Disis pointed out, "The Force" from Volkswagen in 2011 is a prominent example of this done well. The ad was a global hit, and those directly involved went on to give interviews and more for weeks and weeks after its release.
Like the players on the field, ad companies will aim to set the bar even higher this year while trying to make a lasting impression. The ultimate winner, as always, will be viewers who tune in—even if they've spoiled a few of the Hollywood-worthy ads beforehand.