Yes, I Would Prefer to Watch the Super Bowl Commercials, Thank You.

Superbowl isn't just for FootballThis past week, it was the most wonderful time of the year (or second most?) for advertising agencies: Super Bowl Sunday. This year, marketers are debating whether or not it’s a good strategic move to preview ads before the big game. As the New York Times points out, brands like Acura and Volkswagen have released their top-dollar commercials weeks in advance in years past, while other companies keep a tight lid on their marketing agenda.

Is this a solid business branding technique? Is one content strategy better than the other? As one advertising agency exec pointed out in the Times article (linked above), “The people who viewed [the commercials] and shared them before the games were the ones to tell everyone at the Super Bowl parties, ‘Quiet down, here comes that Volkswagen spot.’ ” Free crowd control at Super Bowl parties around the country isn’t a bad thing for advertisers to have in their back pockets, right?

2013 Super Bowl Commercial Observations

Prepare the marketer within you for a look at Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials.

Tide Laundry’s Stain Savers

Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. Painful. Fortunately, this isn’t the official ad that aired on Sunday. The official Tide advertisement, a standard 30 seconds in length, ran during the third quarter, according to Adweek. Thankfully this was cut down for the official ad – ouch.

Coke Chase

Let’s redeem the Tide ad with this one from Coke. The Coke Chase advertising campaign is a full-scale interactive campaign that began on Tuesday, five days before the Super Bowl. The advertisement features three groups, the Cowboys, Badlanders, and Showgirls, who all race through the desert to obtain a Coca-Cola.

Fans can vote for the team of their choice on the Coke Chase website and can even sabotage other teams. Coca-Cola has several videos, picture galleries, and hashtags established around this marketing campaign. It’s hard to know how engaged the Super Bowl audience were on game night, but I have high expectations for this ad’s success! See a longer write-up of the Coke content strategy by the Huffington Post. (Voting Cowboys, by the way.)

Mercedes-Benz

Though it’s quite possibly the lightest take of all time on the great sell-your-soul-to-the-devil theme, this spot has everything a good commercial should have: a star actor (Willem Dafoe, playing the devil), a Rolling Stones song, a great car, Kate Upton, Usher, and a turn-of-events punch line that brings all of the disparate elements together.

Cars.com

Obviously the dramatic portions of Cars.com’s spot have been staged, but whether or not everyone in the room was in on the script is still unknown. Needless to say, this commercial gotCars.com a lot of attention this Super Bowl. $3.7 million dollars worth of attention? That’s hard to say…

Toyota

Meh. A little clever, amusing, but not anything we haven’t seen before. Randomness alone isn’t going to make the cut for a successful ad. Toyota should think about bringing it all back together Mercedes-Benz style. (Personally, I find the the teaser funnier than the actual spot.)

Volkswagen

Try not to smile. I dare you. This is one of several advertisements made by Deutsch (in Los Angeles) that was showing in Super Bowl 2013. Others include spots for Go Daddy and Taco Bell.

Check out more business and branding tips that apply to you in 2013.

What do you think is the best content strategy: release early and build hype, or save your surprises for Sunday?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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