A few more words on 2013 Super Bowl ads and social media

This week, I participated in a live chat about 2013 Super Bowl ads and social media’s influence on them. Today.com writer Ben Popken and I discussed whether previews of the ads detract from the “big reveal,” why companies  spend so much money for a Super Bowl ad and how negative publicity affects ads.

As usual, I over-prepped and I had a few more thoughts that we didn’t discuss so I’m dropping them here.

Lots of television programming can be time-shifted; the value of them doesn’t go away when you watch them an hour later, a day later or even months later. You feel a little left out of the conversation but you get caught up.

Live sports events and awards shows, on the other hand, have way more cachet as they’re happening – both in social and offline. People move on from a discussion of these events much faster than, say, a show like Breaking Bad, which has so much time in between seasons that you can get “in the know” again and still be ready to go when new episodes start up again.

All this – plus a stat that says 36% of people will use a “second screen” when they watch the game this year – helps to explain why so many advertisers are going after the social media/digital audience in the Super Bowl this year: Lincoln had audiences help write its ad, Volkswagen created a teaser filled with viral video personalities, Psy is in a pistachios ad and Coke has an ad fueled by a real-time hashtag.

Advertisers want to say X people saw the ad or participated in the campaign and they want that X number to be as big as possible. It’s not enough to just get the passive TV audience, they want eyes from everywhere including those that are attached to an active social audience. The glut of post-Super Bowl ad conversation only room for the top 3 or best/worst ads. If you’re an advertiser, you don’t want to have to depend on making those lists, you want to get people talking about the ad prior to the game, during the game AND after. So a preview ad, the actual ad and a hashtag help to drive all that (it’s more complicated than I am making it sound but that’s the gist).

A few things I’ll be keeping my eyes on this year:

* Sexy ads are always a given (check out this list of racy ads; I’m quoted in the PETA discussion) but the real winners this year will be the ones where the sexy woman is the one controlling the action instead of being manipulated by it (as in this Fiat spot). I’m not sure, but I bet the Mercedes-Benz ad with Kate Upton will break that way.

* Shazam had a good 2012 Super Bowl but this should be the year it goes wide. They’ve been a bit quiet about their Super Bowl presence, which I don’t get at all so they may be going for the surprise factor.

* GIFs will probably jump the shark in 2013 but this year’s Super Bowl coverage will be lousy with them.

And some ads to watch for during the game:

The ads for Lincoln, Best Buy (with Amy Poehler!), Mercedes Benz (with Usher and Diddy) and Coke ads will all do well and as I said in the chat, the “Fashionista Daddy” ad will end up winning the Doritos contest. But the Hyundai ads will have a solid impact, too, even though they’re not flashy. The Flaming Lips song featured in one of them is aimed at the social media crowd and the Don’t Tell Mom ad has a nice punchline. The Soda Stream ad will likely make an impact, too, as they’ve had a buzz due to their first ad getting rejected. View them both here. Getting an ad in the Super Bowl definitely gives you some prestige so 2013 will be the year you hear about lots of folks getting one at home.

Other ads to watch for will be from M&Ms, Anheuser-Busch (featuring their famous Clydesdales), Chrysler, Oreo, Walking Dead, and Cars.com. None of them were previewed online except for Cars.com so they’re all hoping to make a big splash. Even the Cars.com ad preview played it close to the vest.

The ads that will probably end up on a lot of worst lists? Axe, E-Trade and GoDaddy. They’re all mining stale territory, though GoDaddy promises to redefine sexy somehow, which is totally what you expect from a Internet domain provider.

For a complete list of who’s buying what in the Super Bowl, check out this Ad Age list. Most of the previewed commercials are on this Facebook page.

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