At an average cost of $3.8 million per 30-second pop it's not surprising that this year's Super Bowl advertisers are looking for opportunities to get a little pre-game mileage from their creative by "leaking" ads early online. In fact, there have been 17 Big Game ads leaked so far.
And for good reason: According to YouTube, advertising campaigns that released ads before Super Bowl Sunday averaged 9.1 million YouTube viewers last year. Those that waited until game day to upload their commercials averaged 1.3 million viewers. In 2012, more than 60 percent of advertisers released ads (or teasers) on YouTube before the actual Super Bowl.
Of course, not all the ads are "leaked," as some marketing execs enjoy being coy with reporters and saying things like, “Celebrities in our ads? Yes. That celebrity? No.” So, no sneak-peak at what Budweiser has up its beer-soaked sleeve, except for a few Clydesdale horses. But other ad buyers are much more fun, and offering us a first look now, so we can use the ad breaks in the Super Bowl for going to the bathroom and catching up on tweets.
Here’s our quick rundown of the ones worth watching so far:
Mercedes-Benz - Soul
Kate Upton and Usher have been getting a lot of buzz for being in this ad to promote the Mercedes-Benz CLA, but the real stars are Willem Defoe and the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." This flashy ad, combined with the synergy of the Super Bowl being played in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome means that this luxury car manufacturer should have a good showing at the big game.
This relative newcomer to Super Bowl ads has been in a race to the bottom since it entered the fray, really pushing the line between sexy and dirty with Danica Patrick, the Go-Daddy girls, and a "watch the rest online" call-to-action last year that sent things far into the Losing-Female-Customers danger zone. This year, it seems Go Daddy might have learned it lesson, keeping super model Bar Refaeli fully clothed, according to the pre-released photos.
And Go Daddy's non-Patrick ad is actually pretty good. Called YourBigIdea.Co, the ad features a global cast of characters intent on reaching a global audience, with a catch phrase that you should be prepared to hear repeatedly: "More everything, sky waitress."
The Coca-Cola Company is debuting an interactive storytelling ad called Coke Chase about a race through the desert by groups of characters from various film genres -- cowboys, Bedouin raiders, post-Apocalyptic dune buggy racers, and a busload of Las Vegas showgirls -- along with a call to action to "vote for the winner" as the race continues throughout the game-long ad buy, providing narrative and suspense to the product-centered storyline.
Doritos - Crash the Super Bowl
As has become tradition, Doritos has farmed out its creative content to fans, making the Doritos ad somewhat of a wildcard. Although voting on the ads is now closed, we don't know which of the finalists will be the one that makes it on air. It could be the one with the angry Dorito-eating goat; the one when the old blind guy hits a jerk where it hurts; the one where grandma's dog fetches things too fast; the one where a little girl convinces her dad to cross-dress; or the one where a little girl tricks the family dog into jumping out of the car window so he can have the last Dorito to herself.
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Here's a teaser trailer from a Super Bowl ad-buying rookie, Gildan Activewear, and it continues the weird sex tradition of Super Bowl ads, as it shows a guy waking up with his face smeared with lipstick with leopard-print handcuffs dangling from his wrist with the tag line, "How far will this guy go for his favorite t-shirt?" We're guessing pretty far.
Hyundai Santa Fe + The Flaming Lips
The psychedelic rock band, The Flaming Lips, will debut a brand new song called "Sun Blows Up Today," in an ad for Hyundai's Santa Fe, a cross-over SUV. In an ad called "Epic Playdate," the Flaming Lips provide the soundtrack for one family's quest for adventure, which includes a giant stack of pancakes, a biker gang, robots, confetti cannons and a saber-tooth tiger - enough to make the E-Trade baby jealous.
M & M Mars
Last year, the M & M brand thought it was a great idea to sexualize candy by showing an M & M strip and dance to "Sexy and I Know It." This year, it's gone even creepier, as the lady chocolate introduced in last year's Super Bowl ad, Ms. Brown, sends her dim-witted male counterpart to be "devoured" by a predator who "can't control herself around chocolate." A seriously creepy ad. If the gender roles were reversed and it was the lady M & M getting assaulted in the car, how funny would that be?
Audi - Prom Ad
Audi's entry in the Super Bowl car ad wars seeks to appeal to two generations at the same time, as Dad gives his son keys to his Audi to attend prom alone. Does the car give the son the courage he needs to make the right impression? See for yourself in a true winner of an ad.
VW Beetle - Get Happy
Ad makers are always looking to get free press and additional attention for the ads they release, but accusations of racism is usually not what they have in mind. But there's a good chance that this VW ad weathers that storm because what is racist about making white people sound like they are from Jamaica? Sure, it plays against racial stereotypes and therefore is playing a dangerous game, but it's good natured "get happy" quality would seem to win the day... but view for yourself:
Anheiser-Busch Beck's Sapphire
Speaking of racially charged ads, here's a black fish serenading a black beer. What's the target market for this one?
Got a favorite we missed? Let us know in the comments.