The Super Bowl is an unusual creature in that everyone – and I mean everyone – watches it. This Sunday at 6 pm EST, you know what pretty much the entire country will be doing. Among the most watched TV shows of all time, the last four Super Bowls rank #1, #2, #3 and #4. The M*A*S*H series finale is the only non-football event to crack the top 5.
You don’t have to be a sports fan to get caught up in all the hoopla. Super Bowl Sunday really has something for everyone. For the football fans, there is obviously the game. For gamblers, there are plenty of opportunities to place wagers. You can literally bet on everything: the score of the game, who throws the first interception, who gets the first touchdown, penalties and even the length of the National Anthem (you know – if gambling was legal). For some, the appeal is getting together with friends and consuming copious amounts of wings, pizza and beer. Other people just tune in for the halftime performance. And some people just love the commercials. With so many people tuning it, companies air some of their most inventive and original commercials during the Super Bowl. Often, it is these commercials that people will remember more than the actual game. This year, with two teams I dislike battling it out in the Super Bowl and a relatively lackluster halftime show choice (Madonna), I was particularly looking forward to seeing the commercials.
Which is why I am so annoyed that they keep leaking the commercials before the game.
Many advertisers seem hell-bent on eliminating the element of surprise for the commercials this year. I first noticed this when Volkswagen released their ad a few weeks ago. It was so far in advance of the game that I didn’t realize this was going to be their Super Bowl offering. This week Honda released their ad featuring homage to a classic 80s movie, which sent the twitterverse all abuzz. This was a commercial that would have been a pleasant surprise on Sunday. Instead, now that it has received so much attention prior to the big game, I doubt anyone will give it a second look. I already know all the surprise cameos that will appear Acura’s commercial. It’s not just the car companies that are guilty of this – Coca Cola, Century 21, GoDaddy.com and H&M have all posted commercials as well.
Maybe this isn’t an issue for the average Super Bowl viewer. But for people like me who spend a lot of time online and using social media, these ads and info about their content can be hard to avoid. Even if I haven’t watched the videos, which I have been trying not to do, I know the general concepts for a lot of them.
I understand that we live in a spoiler culture. Putting the ads online after they have aired makes perfect sense to me. But by making the spots available ahead of time, it takes all the fun out of the Super Bowl. I have absolutely no incentive to pay attention. By the time some of these ads will air, I’m already tired of hearing about them. Instead of saying “Did you just see that?” on Sunday, these ads will be greeted with a chorus of “This again?” I hope that is what the advertisers were going for.
For those of you interested in scoping out the ads before the big game, a collection of them can be found at http://screenrant.com/super-bowl-commercials-2012-aco-149203/