Advertisers used to wait till Super Bowl Sunday to unveil their TV ads.
More and more, some jump the gun to justify the king's ransom for a 30-second spot - $4 million this year - by capitalizing on every bit of media hype and advance Internet traffic they can generate, often by using some kind of contest tie-in.
Some, like Anheuser-Busch, use the news and social media to build anticipation for spots you'll have to wait till Sunday to see. The beermaker even issued its first-ever Tweet to ask folks to suggest names for a recently born Clydesdale, star of an ad called "Brotherhood."
Even an ad you won't see on TV has provoked publicity, even without a bit of sexy imagery - at least in the ad. It features a well-bundled older couple simply smiling at each other on a park bench. But CBS objected to the logo that appears - simply saying "Pornhub." The video can be seen all over the web, though.
The most eyeballed ad already released seems to be the YouTube video "Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion," with more than 5.5 million views on YouTube - just since early last week.
Rising fast is Toyota's "Wish Granted," with Kaley Cuoco of "Big Bang Theory" as a genie. Just since Monday, it's racked up more than 3.5 million views.
Also hot is Volkswagen's "Get In. Get Happy" ad, featuring a red Beetle and an upbeat Minnesotan with a Jamaican accent, with nearly 3 million views for two copies on YouTube. Allegations of racism, including by the New York Times, have made views skyrocket since Tuesday. (VW has defended the video, saying it's all positive, while 90 percent of respondents to an online poll voted it wasn't offensive.) Another VW ad shows crying and angry people, urged by a singing Jimmy Cliff to "Get Happy." That's been seen more than 1 million times.
Collectively, the five finalists in Doritos' ad-creating contest have about 5 million views for videos that include a wish-granting dog, a chip-gobbling goat, and men who'll dress as princesses to get some snappy snacks.
Coca Cola also has an interactive gig, inviting the public to vote on who wins a desert-crossing race to chug some promised soda - the cowboys on horseback, the showgirls on a bus, or the badlanders on motorcycles. Three copies of the ad, posted last week on YouTube, already have accumulated more than 1.5 million views. Voting will continue through the game, with the winning commercial show afterward.
Audi has a winner with "Prom," in a teen, forlorn to be going to the dance alone, get quick the confidence booster when his dad throws him to the keys to the new car and says, "Have fun tonight." YouTube views: 2.3 million as of Wednesday morning.
Last week, Taco Bell released a teaser called "Grandpa Goes Wild," featuring a Mr. Goldblatt on a four-wheeled scooter madly tearing up a football field. It had nearly a half-million views as of Tuesday afternoon. It's supposed to be a prequel to Mr. Goldblatt's naughty adventures with pals after sneaking out of a nursing home, in a video entitled, "Viva Young," just released Monday.
Axe is even offering the prize of a trip into space as part of its promotion its new Apollo line of men's grooming and hygiene products. The Super Bowl ad, just released Monday, shows a shapely lass ditching the lifeguard who just saved her for a guy in a spacesuit, before telling folks who want to win the trip to go to www.axeapollo.com. The YouTube video had only about 25,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon.
GoDaddy.com, which usually goes for sexy in ads promoting its website services, has yet to unveil any sneak peeks at one starring racer Danica Patrick and supermodel Bar Refaeli. Available to view is its second spot, one that urges people to secure their great idea by registering a .co (not .com) domain name. It's had about 188,000 views in five days. Confusing are reports that Go Daddy's second ad would be a video about regular people being sexy - business-wise.
Not yet catching on is a funny Wheat Thins ad in which a wife scoff at her husband's wearing night-vision goggles to protect his crackers - until the Adominable Snowman shows up. Funny, but only 55,000 views over five days.
The ad for Pepsi NEXT, in which parents come home to find a wild party, was just posted Tuesday on YouTube. Another Pepsi ad will feature half-time performer Beyonce.
Kia's "Space Babies" ad, also posted Tuesday, is a pretty funny answer to the question "Where do babies come from?" It had 30,000 views, as of this morning.
The Flaming Lips perform "Sun Blows Up Today" in an extended version of one of Hyundai's Super Bowl ads, which was just posted Wednesday morning on YouTube. Another ad apparently will turn kids into a "dream team."
Speaking of cars, GM opted out of airing ads during the game, but will have Chevy ads during pre-game coverage.
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