Every company advertising on the Super Bowl has to think about a rather simple question: is it better to release the ad early or wait for the game?
This question is not as simple as it seems. Waiting maintains the element of surprise, so a Super Bowl ad has an opportunity to stand out. Releasing early, however, can generate PR, buzz and anticipation in advance of the game.
Even if an advertiser decides to release a spot early, there is a question of timing. Wait until the week of the game, when the buzz is most intense? Or release earlier, when there is less competitive clutter and hence a great chance to get some attention?
Two brands creating buzz about their ads are Audi and CareerBuilder.
Last Thursday, Audi released information about its campaign along with a spot it called a prelude to the actual Super Bowl commercial. You can watch the prelude commercial here.
By making the announcement early, Audi was clearly trying to get some PR well in advance of the game. At the same time, Audi didn’t release the actual spot, in a bid to protect the surprise.
CareerBuilder took a similar approach. Last week the company reached out to the advertising press. You can read Stuart Elliott’s article in the New York Times here:
However, CareerBuilder hasn’t released the actual commercial. We know that the commercial will feature chimps, but we don’t know what they will be doing.
In general, releasing early makes very good sense. Most of the discussion about Super Bowl ads actually occurs before the game. Advertisers who wait miss a big opportunity to participate in all the build-up.
Still, some advertisers win big with a surprise. In 2010, for example, Google finished first in the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review with an ad that came as a complete surprise.
As the Super Bowl approaches, it is interesting to watch how advertisers play it. Will they release the spots? And if so, when do they do it?