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Brief Published: 27 Jan 2014

Super Bowl’s 2014 Online Ad Blitz


Ahead of the biggest advertising event of the year, the US Super Bowl, online video platform YouTube is playing host to Ad Blitz – a sponsored site where fans can view teasers, competitions and full adverts in preparation for the big game.

Ad Blitz currently hosts ads from a small selection of brands airing during the American football match, which kicks off this Sunday (February 2 2014). Super Bowl advertising is as appreciated and anticipated as the game itself, and some argue that a move like this could soften the impact of the advertising.

But allowing viewers access to ads pre-event also generates hype, and offers a space for more in-depth narratives and competitions. Take American soft-drink giant Pepsi’s initiative, which saw free branded vending machines crop up all over the small town of Milligan Nebraska, which is situated halfway across the US. As sponsor of the half-time performance (see the connection?) by American singer Bruno Mars, every can of Pepsi invited fans to “Get Hyped”. 

Others, like German lager brand Bud Light, only offer short second-long teasers of their adverts. Fans of action movies can expect to see a humorous appearance of the action star turned governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, while fans of actor Don Cheadle will see him featured alongside a llama for the beer brand under the banner: ‘Whatever Is Coming’.

Increasing interactivity also sees viewers able to vote for their favourite ads before they air. Doritos is hosting a number of fan-made adverts on Ad Blitz – one of which will be chosen by viewers to represent the US tortilla-chip brand during the game. The winner will receive a hefty $1m prize and the chance to work on the set of Marvel’s upcoming Avengers sequel. 

In a similar move, the ad teaser for American software company Intuit (which specialises in software for small businesses) reveals its pick of the four best small businesses in the US, and offers viewers the chance to pick which company airs an ad during the Super Bowl. This list includes Stylus favourite GoldieBlox – the US-based toy company aimed at teaching girls engineering skills (as seen in our Future Female Industry Trend).

Alternative ways of generating advertising buzz – especially around large-scale events such as the Super Bowl – are becoming more sought-after by an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy audience. Look at H&M’s Shoppable Ad for inspiration. For more on advertising on YouTube, see our report Seven Approaches to YouTube Storytelling.