Another Super Bowl has come and gone. As in past years, while some people are interested in who wins the game, the vast majority of people are focused on the important parts – the halftime show and the ads.

As always, the halftime show delivered entertainment or controversy (or both), depending on your view. And, as always, there were some very expensive commercials. Some of which were hilarious (MC Hammer declaring what you can and can’t touch), some bizarre (R2D2 shops at Walmart?), some touching (Google, please find my tissues) and some just stupid (we’ll leave that up to you to decide).

But what’s different about this year’s crop of ads is just how many of them were available to be previewed, or even seen in full, before the coin toss even happened. From the supposed death of Mr. Peanut to Rachel Dratch, Chris Evans and John Krasinski pahking cahs, many Super Bowl commercials were on full display long before the game kicked off.

Why are advertisers willing to risk ruining the surprise of those expensive ads? While this year’s viewership count ticked up a bit, overall Super Bowl numbers are down. In the past, even people who didn’t like football would willingly tune in to watch, because there was nothing else on or to see what their colleagues would be talking about the next day.

Today though, not only are there a myriad of other entertainment options, but thanks to streaming there are even other options for watching the Super Bowl. If all you wanted was to watch J.Lo and Shakira shake their hips, the video of the halftime show was available just a few hours after it happened. Instead of debuting a commercial at the Super Bowl and building post-game water cooler chatter, advertisers now start the conversation early in hopes of gaining more buzz.

Super Bowl ads aren’t going away anytime soon, but as Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi showed us (via Amazon), the message may stay the same, but the medium is constantly changing.

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  1. Rebecca Chanin February 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    It’s a toss-up between two car brands for the best ad (IMHO): Jeep and Hyundai.

    Both made the actual product (or a specific feature, in the case of Hyundai) the hero of the ad. The celebrities were an *enhancement* instead of being the stars of the show.

    To wit, I’m still saying “Smaht Pahk” in my head and chuckling at Bill Murray joyfully careening around with a groundhog. But more importantly, I am associating the actual BRAND with those positive thoughts.

    Good on ya, Hyundai and Jeep.

    • Sue Keith February 4, 2020 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Good points! I will confess to the Bill Murray/groundhog ad as being my favorite of the night. And I’m not alone – it won the USA Today AdMeter poll, just edging out the smaht pahk-ers:

  2. Janet Sifers February 5, 2020 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I confess that I’m there for the ads. That said, amid the high-priced cameos and rapid-fire scenes, it’s hard to figure which product/brand many of these ads are promoting. A great ad engages us with a compelling story, shows us something unique about the product/brand and makes us want to go out and experience that for ourselves – with the featured product/brand. Most of these missed that mark.

    • Sue Keith February 5, 2020 at 11:17 am - Reply

      Agreed! The litmus test isn’t whether you remember the commercial, it’s if you remember what the commercial was for. My son mentioned the Puppy Monkey Baby ad from a few years ago. I remember the (disturbing) critter, but have no idea what the ad was for. Bonus points if anyone remembers…

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