Saturday, February 2, 2013

Canada's annual Super Bowl ad shuffle

Canadians have been bitching about not seeing those Super Bowl ads for 40 years, ever since simultaneous substitution was introduced in 1972. The annual outcry is like our version of Groundhog Day.
Thing is, the big-budget commercials have been available to Canadians for years, in some cases, prior to the big game, on the Internet.
It's never been so true as this year, when many advertisers have followed the lead of brands like Coke and Pepsi, GoDaddy and several car companies and posted their spots in advance. Given that CBS is banking between US$3.5 million and $5 million per 30-second spot for Sunday's game (depending on placement, with right before opening kickoff  fetching the highest premium), might as well get the biggest social network bang for your buck.
The Super Bowl math is staggering. CBS will show over 70 30-second spots during the game. At an average $3.75 million cost ($125,000 a second!), that's $250 million, or just over two dollars per viewer, to CBS. Last year, NBC drew a record 111.3 million U.S. viewers, with CTV getting 8.3 million in Canada.
Even in the U.S., more people say they're drawn to the ads first, the game second. Surveys indicate more people go to the bathroom during the game so as not to miss the ads!
Below is one of my favourite spots from this year's Super Bowl, from Volkswagen:

It's simple and effective and, as of Saturday noon, had nearly 5.7 million views on YouTube. Others are spending millions on special effects. Still others, such as this Coca-cola ad, are asking viewers to go on-line and pick the ending before the ad even airs!

You can see more of Sunday's Super Bowl ads here at Roger Ebert's blog, and at several other sites. Even CTV is offering Super Bowl ads and teasers at its streaming site. And why not? According to Google, more Canadians search for Super Bowl ads on the Internet than people from any other country.
YouTube's AdBlitz site will also have all the U.S. Super Bowl ads posted immediately after their air Sunday, with a few even available before the game.
Or, if you live close to the border, you can pick up a digital antenna and watch the game live on a CBS affiliate--just like the good old days.
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