| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Feb 3 The Super Bowl is still
two days away but some advertisers already are looking like
winners as their yet-to-be-aired commercials score millions of
hits online and rack up pre-game buzz.
A teaser for Volkswagen's ad has drawn more than
11 million viewers on YouTube. The campaign features a pack of
dogs barking out a "Star Wars" song, repeating a theme from the
company's well-received ad during last year's Super Bowl. ()
That level of pre-game hits is "astonishing," according to
Tim Calkins, marketing professor at Northwestern University's
Kellogg School of Management.
"That would be a pretty good viewership for a primetime
network television show," Calkins said.
Several other Super Bowl ads, or at least short teaser
spots, have popped up online to try to grab attention before the
New England Patriots and New York Giants kick off on Sunday.
More advertisers are encouraging their agencies to upload
their ads to websites like YouTube and Vimeo to generate as much
buzz as possible, especially as the cost of 30-second commercial
spots have soared to average at $3.5 million this year.
Ads getting notice include a Honda Motor Co spot
with Matthew Broderick playing off his iconic film role as
Ferris Bueller. In the commercial, the actor calls in sick and
spends a day cruising around town in a Honda CR-V. ()
Another commercial features comedian Jerry Seinfeld
reuniting briefly with the Soup Nazi from his 1990s television
show, in a pitch for Honda's Acura model. ()
Each of those spots were viewed more than 10 million times
each within days of being uploaded on YouTube.
Automakers' spots are drawing the most pre-game interest
online, according to the CNBC/Collective Interactive Super
Sunday Ad Tracker, which follows discussions on social media,
blogs and other sources.
On Friday, Honda was leading in "total buzz" with more than
75,000 mentions, followed by Volkswagen with more than 55,000
Soda maker Coca-Cola, which is bringing back its
Arctic polar bears, ranked first among non-car companies with
more than 17,000 mentions. ()
For many advertisers, the pre-game attention will provide a
big boost. But there is some risk to releasing ads in advance -
if people have already heard about the ads and know the
punchlines, they may use commercial breaks to grab a snack.
"If it's one of the top three or four (before the game),
that's going to help it," said Charles Taylor, marketing
professor at the Villanova School of Business.
For less popular spots, "you already know what's in the ad.
There's not any suspense left," he said.
According to executives from Comcast Corp's NBC
television network, broadcaster of the Super Bowl game, a
30-second commercial slot cost $3.5 million on average this
year, up from $3 million for last year's Super Bowl, which was
on News Corp's Fox station.
An expected 100 million people will watch the game, among a
dwindling number of TV programs that still draw big live
The Super Bowl, including lower-priced halftime slots, could
easily generate over a quarter of a billion dollars in ad sales.
Anheuser-Busch, which typically buys exclusivity as
the only beer advertiser during recent Super Bowls, is again the
biggest spender, according to industry sources.
Coke and PepsiCo Inc will face off for soda
supremacy with campaigns that attempt to leverage social media
after their commercials air.
"The Super Bowl has really gone from being a one-day
advertising event to being a month-long extravaganza," Calkins
said. "Many advertisers will be happy with their Super Bowl
participation even before the game begins."