Why Big Brands Released Super Bowl Ads Early

This year’s Super Bowl commercial frenzy started early this year! Year after year, the biggest brands go head to head in order to create the most memorable Superbowl ad of the year. With commercial spots running at $4 mil for 30 seconds this year, brands want to do more with the ever so valuable TV spots. Instead of waiting to reveal their commercials during the big game, some of the biggest brands have leaked their commercials early to try to get a jump on the viewing and sharing totals.

Those leaked ads reveal that this year brands are using the emotional appeal to attract lots of views and shares. Big brands such as Budweiser and Axe are breaking through the noise with ads that will entertain and engage their audience.

Last year Budweiser tugged on our heartstrings by showing the relationship between a man and his horse. This year, they upped the ante the only way they could – by adding a puppy. We still have the crucial brand Clydesdale, but this year the relationship isn’t between a Clydesdale and his handler but between the horse and a painfully adorable golden retriever puppy.

This kind of innocent interspecies relationship makes even the coldest hearts warm. As you are watching the ad you forget for a moment that you’re watching a beer ad (after all, we’re used to sexy women in tight clothes in typical beer commercials). Even though the ad only relates to Budweiser’s beer in such a small way (via the Clydesdale) just the shear “awww” factor is enough to get the video to go viral.

And, when it comes to Super Bowl ads, all Budweiser wants to know is that they were seen and shared across the web. Their beer doesn’t even need to appear in the ad. The ad just needs to endear the brand to consumers, and it appears to have done so. Many people have exclaimed that they want to rush out and buy a case just because the commercial was so darn cute. Mission accomplished.

Axe is another brand that decided to break from conventions and play to consumers’ emotions. The usually and solidly masculine brand pulled a 180 to show their softer, fuzzier side. This year’s Super Bowl ad is topical, bringing up the most controversial subjects and showing the viewer a side to each scenario that we may not consider. Their new campaign “Peace” brings the cliché message of “make love, not war” to the deodorant market.

This ad is so far from their usual macho inspired ad that it’s enough to catch viewer’s attention and get them talking. Coupled with the hashtag #kissforpeace and partnered with Peace One Day Org, Axe is trying to bring awareness to conflicts around the world with this powerful ad. We’ll see if viewers find the effort authentic, or a contrite gimmick.

When Cheerios launched the now infamous ad featuring an interracial family, the brand showed that it supports all types of families, no matter what shape or size or color. The outpouring of reactions to this fictional family brought out the worst and the best in people. Some applauded Cheerios choice, while others left hateful, nasty comments that show that though we’ve come a long way as a country, we still have a long way to go. The controversy benefited Cheerios by increasing their social reach, and in hopes of recreating that moment, they have come out with another commercial using the same family.

Final Observations
Puppies seem to be the magic ingredient for Super Bowl ads this year, with CarMax using puppies for an alternative version of their “human” ad for this year. IT might seem like shameless pandering (and let’s face it, it probably is), but the result of the puppy ad formula is increased viewer engagement. As we say in Internet-lingo,  these ads are “giving people the feels.” These three ads already have a big jumpstart in views and shares, so we may see more love for emotional ads than the usual funny ads this year.

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