The game may be over but the talk about the Super Bowl 2012 ads goes on. Social video ad company Sharethrough (www.sharethrough.com) has just released some interesting findings: the extended cuts and teaser videos for the Super Bowl actually generated nearly five times as many views as the actual ads themselves.
The graphic below shows that the teasers and extended cuts have reached ~55 million views (and counting!) while the actual TV ads recorded ~12 million views.
Allan Johnson, Content Strategist at Sharethrough, has kindly agreed to give us further insights.
Otilia Otlacan: What are the main drivers behind such a discrepancy and behind the viral quality shown by most Super Bowl ads?
Allan Johnson: The discrepancy has a lot to do with expectations. What’s great about Super Bowl spots is that people are conditioned to experience them as content they want to watch, not interruptive ads. People expect them to be good because historically, they are. They have big budgets and big cameos, and there’s way more creative freedom offered to the agencies producing the spots. Brands set out to entertain as a priority. Still, everyone knows that the spots themselves are going to have to be :30 or :60 in order to air on TV. So if you know the content is going to be great and there can be an extended cut which might run another 47 seconds longer, but which tells a story unconstrained by the :30 intervals, then viewers naturally know that the extended cuts will be the more entertaining format. Viewers are smart. Watch the Seinfeld ad that was edited for the Super Bowl and then watch the extended cut and it’s clear that the extra time makes a big impact in being able to properly set up the jokes.
Otilia Otlacan: What is the shelf life of a Super Bowl ad, can you comment on how quickly the online buzz vanishes post-game?
Allan Johnson: For a truly viral ad that really impacts the culture, the shelf life of a Super Bowl spot can last for months, even years. Probably the best, most recent example of such a spot was last year’s “The Force” for VW. That spot continues to perform exceptionally well. In addition to still being used on TV, it has steadily added millions of views each month and has collected over 50 million as of today. It will be interesting to see if such an impactful spot exists from this year’s crop. Both the Seinfled Acura spot and the Ferris Bueller Honda spot are showing signs of long lives. “The Bark Side” also looks as if it might stay relevant for month’s to come. “The Bark Side” is currently outperforming VW’s actual Super Bowl spot, “The Dog Strikes Back,” by 2 to 1, even though it was released as that spot’s teaser.
Otilia Otlacan: The top 5 most viral Super Bowl ads of 2012 were all car commercials. Is this a coincidence, have these campaigns been managed better, or is there an organic affinity between cars and the Super Bowl?
Allan Johnson: This was clearly a dominant year for the auto industry. What’s interesting to note, is that just 5 years ago, Audi was the only car manufacturer even advertising in the Super Bowl. They’ve come a long way fast. I think their preeminence was a direct consequence of VW’s success last year with “The Force.” That was such a runaway success that all their direct competitors in the auto industry felt that they needed to catch up, and it turned into an arms race. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next year. Will the other industries feel left in the dust themselves and come back with a vengeance? I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen.
Sharethrough provides brands with a repeatable, scalable and transparent approach to distributing video content that guarantees viewership and maximizes shared engagement. Sharethrough drives engaged audiences for brand videos through its social video ad products, unique publisher network and proprietary targeting and optimization tools. Sharethrough is used by many of the world’s leading brands, including Sony, Microsoft, General Motors, Victoria’s Secret, Nestle and LEGO, as well as top agencies such as Pereira & O’Dell, Universal McCann, Evolution Bureau and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Founded in 2008, Sharethrough is a privately held company based in San Francisco, Calif. For more information about Sharethrough, please visit www.sharethrough.com.