Tricks of Super Bowl ads

Hyundai Super Bowl ad

The game is now in the history books, but the talk for many on Monday morning won’t be the plays. It will be about the commercials. At $4 million for 30 seconds, the trick is to get your money’s worth.

Businessweek did a piece on how some advertisers are trying to generate Super Bowl buzz without paying for it. Here’s an excerpt:

One creative way of getting an ad out on the cheap: Run a quirky, low-budget spot in a small market and watch it go viral. (Old Milwaukee beer pioneered this trick last year with an ad, featuring comedian Will Ferrell, that ran during a local ad block in North Platte, Neb.) According to Adweek, Old Spice (PG) will run a Super Bowl ad, in which wolves crash a party and hawks interrupt a poker game, exclusively in Juneau, Alaska. (The spot is already online.) The deodorant company says it chose Alaska because the state has the highest wolf population in the country. Because of the rise of small market ads like these, CBS said local ad sales at network-owned stations have hit a new record this year, with some markets charging up to $1 million per ad.

Many advertisers are turning to the web to try and generate buzz for their commercials. Here’s a story from Bloomberg:

The stakes are high for the championship football game’s advertising sponsors, who spent as much as $133,333 a second for a half-minute of airtime, a record sum marketers say is justified by the expected repeat viewings and buzz on the Web. Internet companies are taking on the role of referee, measuring viewers’ votes, searches and sentiments in an attempt to declare a winner among the Super Bowl sponsors.

The game, played in New Orleans and aired on CBS Corp. (CBS)’s network, is drawing major marketers like Coca-Cola Co. and Volkswagen AG (VOW) as well as lesser-known brands like Wonderful Pistachios and Gildan Activewear. BlackBerry (RIMM), struggling to rehabilitate its faltering brand, is advertising for the first time in the Super Bowl, promoting the long-awaited Z10 smartphone ahead of its U.S. release in March.

Many advertisers started streaming their Super Bowl spots ahead of the game to draw a bigger audience, both online and on television. Ads released before the Super Bowl typically generate more than 9.1 million online views on average, compared with 1.3 million for those appearing on the Web the day of the game, according to Lucas Watson, vice president of advertising at YouTube, owned by Google Inc. (GOOG)

And then there are the ads we’re still talking about. Mashable put together this list of the 10 best Super Bowl ads of all time. Coming in at number 1:

Who could forget the iconic Coke ad when Mean Joe Green tossed his jersey to a fan who gave him a coke to the Star Wars-themed Volkswagen ad from 2011 that quickly became a viral sensation?

It remains to be seen whether any ads from this year’s big game will rank among these classics, but there are already some promising contenders, including Hyundai’s playful 60-second spot featuring The Flaming Lips, Audi’s prom ad and Samsung’s commercial with Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd.

Then there are the companies that asked consumers to create their spots. This is from the Wall Street Journal

Rather than relying solely on traditional ad creators, many marketers have asked consumers to play a part in creating or choosing this year’s big-game commercials.

German car maker Audi posted three versions of its ad on YouTube and let consumers select which ending should air, while Ford Motor‘s Lincoln brand started a Twitter campaign that asked people to tweet their most memorable road-trip stories. It then had late-night talk-show host Jimmy Fallon select five of the tweets, which were used to create its spot.

Coca-Cola also let consumers vote on how its big game ad ends, while rival PepsiCo include hundreds of consumer-submitted photos in one of its commercials. About 100,000 photos were submitted as part of a contest Pepsi conducted.

When dozens of ads fight for attention, getting consumers involved “is an extremely efficient way to amplify your marketing,” said Paul Chibe, Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. marketing chief. The brewer is asking the public to name the baby Clydesdale that appears in its Super Bowl ad by sending their picks via Twitter and Facebook.

But it still remains to be seen if the ads actual change consumer-buying patterns. They definitely raise brand awareness, but will it translate into more sales? That’s what the coverage of the ads needed to focus on.