Fewer companies pre-release Super Bowl ads
Companies now want to maximize their ads' impact instead of frittering it away in the days leading up to the game, observers say.
"There has been a huge debate over whether to release the full ad before the game [because] you lose the 'wow' factor during the big game," says Derek Rucker, a professor of marketing with Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, who also coordinates an annual survey of Super Bowl ad effectiveness for the university.
Among the examples: An ad for Wonderful Pistachios starring South Korean rapper Psy has been held back, as well as ones for Lincoln Motor Co., BlackBerry and Chrysler.
But in lieu of full release, more advertisers have created online "teases" (short previews) of their in-game commercials.
"For seventy-five percent of the ads we've got a tease, and that's much more than last year," said Charles R. Taylor, professor of marketing at Villanova University.
Another trend this year is crowdsourcing, in which advertisers ask consumers how they want an ad to end -- Coca-Cola Co.'s "Mirage" campaign is this year's best-known example -- or even which ad they want to air (Audi's campaign for the S6, "Worth It," about a teen who gets to drive his parents' new car to the prom). Even Budweiser has gotten into the crowdsourcing game -- it has asked consumers to name the Clydesdale foal, with the results to be announced during the game.
Here are some other noteworthy commercials to expect during Super Bowl XLVII:
Coca-Cola: Who will win the giant bottle of Coke? The "Mad Max"-like "badlanders," cowboys or showgirls, all racing through the desert for the prize? Millions have already voted online and the winner will be unveiled at the end of the game.
Axe: The deodorant maker is tying its first-ever Super Bowl commercial to a promotion that will give winners a seat on the Lynx, a private, suborbital spacecraft expected to launch next year.
Oreo: For the product's centennial, this ad will highlight an age-old debate among cookie lovers: What's better: the filling or the cookie?
Paramount: The trailer for "Star Trek Into Darkness" is highly anticipated. The studio will also announce details about a new app Thursday that will be tied directly to the trailer, featuring a game and other elements that will lead up to the movie's May release.
Pepsi Cola: At least one ad will include photos that the soda maker has solicited from consumers -- more crowdsourcing. It was not known whether halftime show performer Beyoncé, the brand's "Global Ambassador," would appear in a commercial.
Lincoln Motor Company: Jimmy Fallon will incorporate tweets he got from fans for one commercial (and a likeness of Abraham Lincoln will be deployed in other spots). Other TV and movie stars who will appear during ads include: Willem Dafoe (Mercedes), Kaley Cuoco (Toyota) and Tracy Morgan (Mio).
Controversy over Volkswagen ad
Jamaica is embracing a controversial Super Bowl commercial that depicts a white office worker from the U.S. Midwest feigning the Caribbean island's lilting patois accent to display a cheerful, upbeat outlook.
Some U.S. critics have described the pregame Super Bowl ad from Volkswagen of America as offensive and culturally insensitive. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow said during an appearance on CNN that the advertisement was like "blackface with voices."
But the charged reaction has met with puzzlement in Jamaica, which has very visible white, Asian, Middle Eastern and mixed-race minorities who often speak with the local accent.
The island's government has endorsed the commercial, which shows an ebullient white worker telling his co-workers: "No worries, mon. Everyting will be all right."
Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill said he believes the Super Bowl commercial has the potential to increase tourist arrivals by tapping into "the tremendous appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally."