Tom Brady’s balls aren’t the only thing that feels flat.
With less than a week before Super Bowl, there’s a distinct lack of excitement surrounding this year’s commercial lineup.
Perhaps nervous about revealing too much, fewer advertisers are releasing teasers in advance of the most- watched TV event. And those in the business of measuring pre-game buzz agree that the handful of advance spots has generated little in the way of thrills.
“Advertisers are releasing the ads and the teasers later,” said Sean Muller, CEO of iSpot, which measures ad effectiveness. “Maybe people saw that Budweiser’s ‘Puppy Love’ spot did best last year and that came out the Wednesday before Super Bowl.”
Indeed, iSpot found a big drop in online viewing of Super Bowl ads. This time a year ago three advertisers — Axe deodorant, Bud Light and Dannon yogurt — had generated around six million online views combined.
This year, the top performer is Victoria’s Secret with 743,000 views as of Thursday. Newcastle Brown Ale (600,000) and Carl’s Junior (576,000) are second and third.
Only Victoria’s Secret ponied up the $4.4 million NBC is asking for a national spot during Sunday’s matchup between the Seahawks and Patriots. The other two just bought ads in some local markets.
In another sign of low interest, Wikipedia searches on Super Bowl advertisers has fallen to 3,400 from 4,300 last year, according to ListenFirst Media, which measures social media buzz.
Building buzz before the game has been the go-to strategy for brands seeking to get the most bang for their buck. This year, however, just a handful of marketers, including Lexus, Dove Men Care and insurance company Nationwide, are showing a little leg.
“We have done things sooner. We were one of the first ones to release spots ahead of the game in 2007,” Nationwide’s chief marketing officer, Matt Jauchius, said. “Our sense is one or two weeks out is where the real excitement is.”
Call it the Sani-Bowl, but this year’s ad lineup is also light on sex appeal, star power and crude humor.
Last year, retailer H&M showed off a stripped-down David Beckham. This year even the Victoria’s Secret models in the teaser are covered in NFL uniforms with no cleavage in sight.
Seizing the moment, Carl’s Junior bought an ad for West Coast viewers and then teased everyone else with a spot featuring a near naked model walking through a farmer’s market.
Most Super Bowl pre-game publicity is a non-stop blitz of celebs and A-list directors, such as Ellen DeGeneres, who danced in a Beats Music spot in 2014.
For sure more big names could pop up, but for now the stars are funny lady Mindy Kaling for Nationwide and a rumored appearance by accident-prone Lindsay Lohan in an eSurance spot.
Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena is waiting until this week to roll out a celebrity spot.
“Last year we went out earlier with a teaser and the main creative,” he said. “We want a little bit more post-Super Bowl [pickup] than last year. Fewer and more concentrated hits produce bigger pops.”