Why Companies Are Releasing Super Bowl Ads Early

And What Your Church Can Learn From That

Super Bowl 50 is upon us and the buzz is turning into a deafening roar. You can’t look at anything on tv or on line without being constantly reminded that the big day is almost here.


That includes YouTube which has become THE PLACE for big advertisers to release their super secret Super Bowl ads early. But wait, isn’t the whole idea to keep it all secret and build excitement so that people will sit there through every commercial break in breathless anticipation waiting to see your ad? Not any more. Here’s why and what we can learn from this.

Advertisers have figured out that if you’re going to spend millions of dollars producing an ad and millions more buying the Super Bowl air time, you might as well get the maximum bang for that buck. After all, a lot of people watch the game, but not all watch the commercials, and a vastly larger audience exists outside of the game and specifically on line.

As it turns out, says research from Unruly,  51% of the people on its panel of 1,200 said they had not seen some ads during last year’s Super Bowl but they had seen them online, only.

It’s never tipped over half before, but Unruly says it “points to the fact that a significant number of Super Bowl viewers do not watch the ads live on TV,” instead catching them online “during one of the two surges in sharing that occur before and after Super Bowl Sunday.”

The emergence of Facebook as an online video spot is also changing the environment. Facebook can be a superhighway for sharing; Unruly says 70% of the video shares happen on Facebook within two days after an ad is released; that’s compared to only 30% on YouTube.

So what can we learn from this and how can we apply it to our church?

  1. Sunday Is Not Enough – We need to be sharing the great content we’ve created for Sunday morning, especially video content, on every channel we have available to us. If it’s good, it only adds value to the expectation that people associate with Sunday morning. Not only will they watch it again live on Sunday, they will actually look forward to watching it again. So we need to share it before Sunday to build anticipation and we need to show it again after Sunday to review, refresh and remind.
  2. Bang For The Buck – We’re not spending millions to create message bumpers or elements, but we do typically spend a lot of time and creative energy and we need to get the most out of it that we possibly can. And the more exposure we give to these creative elements, the more creative our teams will tend to be. Once they realize they are communicating beyond the 4 walls on Sunday, they will be more likely to get out of the box and think bigger about how an idea can be communicated.
  3. You Can’t Over-communicate – If you did a survey right now of your people and asked them what the current message series is, how many do you think would get it right? Odds are not as many as you would want. So put your creative content out there more often and in more places. It can only help.

Check back in early next week for my next posts where I’m going to tell you a few key things that any church can do right now today on their social media to increase attendance next Sunday.