Just a couple of weeks ago, I saw an AdAge article announcing that Steve Hayden, legendary copywriter and co-creator of the seminal Apple “1984” Super Bowl spot, was retiring. For those too young to remember, that spot made the Super Bowl what it is today–the only game where people would rather watch the ads than the action. (Well, that and an unfortunate string of blowouts that were decided by halftime. Thanks, Buffalo Bills.)
While that spot certainly was a game changer, it got me thinking about how much else has changed since 1984. In 2012, it’s no longer enough to top the list of favorite spots in USA Today or own the water cooler the morning after. Now, thanks to social media, it’s all about views, mentions, likes and retweets. Building buzz, managing it, riding it for weeks after the big game is long over and the MVP has returned from Disney World.
So here we are, a week and a half before kickoff. Baltimore’s Lee Evans and San Francisco’s Kyle Williams are still apologizing to fans for their costly miscues, and/or receiving death threats from said fans. And already, dozens of Super Bowl advertisers have leaked details or launched teaser videos. In fact, Mashable has released its official list of the top 20.
Granted, if you’ve just plunked down $3.5 million for 30 seconds or airtime, you want to get the most out of your investment. And getting people talking about your brand (or as we say, “Magnetizing” it) is crucial these days. But you have to strike the right balance. If you give too much away in the anticipation phase, you risk stealing your own thunder, like one of those movie trailers that give away all the good jokes. If you try to dominate the conversation right from the start, you could end up losing the “wow” factor that makes great Super Bowl spots, including Apple’s “1984”, so memorable in the first place.
That said, I couldn’t help myself and just had to peek at a few of these previews.
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Most of the teasers aren’t getting much traction yet, except for VW’s “The Bark Side” which shows dogs barking to the tune of Star Wars's "The Imperial March." So does that mean there will be dogs in this year's ad? More Star Wars? Jar-Jar dancing with a Wookie? I can’t wait to find out. But I will.
A quick perusal of the other teaser videos, press releases and promoted twitter feeds revealed even more juicy details. Apparently, Kia's ad will star super model Adriana Lima, MMA fighter Chuck Liddell and for good measure, Motley Crue. Doritos will feature grown men acting like animals to the strains of Italian opera. Retailer H&M will grace us with soccer star David Beckham in his underwear. Audi will go with vampires. And Go Daddy will continue its cheesy meme with something called “Body Paint.” Sounds like a stellar crop.
But perhaps the most intriguing effort might come from Dannon. The yogurt maker says it's trying to improve Americans' snacking habits and will be taking this opportunity to “educate us” on the biggest snacking day of the year. That’s just what we all want, to be “educated” on Super Bowl Sunday. Unlike all the other brands doing everything they can to top the viral charts, something tells me Dannon might end up more like the fruit in their yogurt. Stuck on the bottom.