Super Bowl: When Commercials Have their Own Commercials

Is there a football game or something on Sunday?

Around 111 million sets of eyes will be glued to the screen for the Super Bowl, but what is the real sport being played? With the price for a 30-second spot being $3.5 million, advertisers are entering into a gridiorn of their own to generate the most buzz about not only their brand, but their execution. Almost every brand with a Super Bowl spot is teasing us with short preview clips and contests.

Basically, we’re so ad-hungry, there are commercials for commercials.

As usual, Coca-Cola brought its A Game, creatively integrating social media as its teasing medium of choice.  The company created an online campaign pitting three bizarre groups of people – a team of showgirls, cowboys and grungy badlanders – against each other in a race through a desert towards a huge bottle of Coca-Cola. Viewers can vote on which team they want to win, and sabotage the other two with obstacles. The final commercial with the results will be aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

Axe is going so far as to send someone to space, trying to out-stunt Red Bull’s Stratos Dive of 2012. This daring deodorant brand pre-released its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, promoting its new Axe Apollo scent as well as its Axe Apollo Space Academy. Yeah, that’s right, a space academy. Axe announced it will give everyone the chance to compete for one of 22 tickets to travel to space on a flight with Space Exploration Corp., based in Amsterdam. Old Spice is going to have to buy a planet to top this.


Samsung used celebrities and humorous narrative to entertain the masses. In the teaser, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen pitch their ideas for a big game spot to Bob Odenkirk. By poking fun at the frustration of ad agencies’ inability to use the words “Super Bowl,” “49ers,” or “Ravens” without rights during commercials, the pair come up with alternative names. Get excited for Samsung’s spot featuring the “San Francisco 50 Minus-Oners and The Baltimore Blackbirds” on game day.


Doritos continues its “Crash the Super Bowl” legacy with yet another round of original spots submitted by fans across the country. This year, the winner gets the chance to work with director Michael Bay on his next Transformers movie. Doritos will also award up to $1 million as a bonus prize if the commercial scores among the top spots in the USA Today ad meter.


Many brands have even released their Super Bowl spots in their entirety, no teaser required, competing for the most views even before the game starts. Ad Age reports that as of right now, Toyota is the winner of The Ad Bowl, with 11 million views online.


Of course, we have our own favorite. The Audi “Prom” commercial successfully sold the concept of bravery through an underdog stag at prom.  The ad shows a boy who is filled with confidence from driving his father’s Audi and kisses his dream girl at prom, even at the cost of getting punched by her boyfriend. This luxury car company breaks away from the typical positioning of the sexy high end car, instead using a zero-to-hero complex to inspire viewers to buy Audis. Not only did it have a likeable story line for its spot, but it also executed social strategy to create buzz. Audi encouraged online participation, allowing people to vote for one of three potential endings for the ad.


Choose your favorite this weekend by either TiVoing through the football or watching the commercials online via Adweek’s partnership with YouTube. Oh, and enjoy the football game.

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