The Super Bowl is still several days away, but viewers are already deciding on which commercials are scoring touchdowns.
With the game representing both a big investment and a significant gamble for advertisers, many try to help their odds for a win by pre-releasing either teasers for their commercials or the actual ad. It's not hard to see why brands try every trick to get people to watch their spots, given that the price of commercial time during the Super Bowl has surged 76 percent during the past decade, according to Kantar Media.
Aside from the huge investment, brands also have their reputation on the line. Since 2010, the game has drawn more than 100 million viewers annually, making it a reliable ratings winner. Many of those viewers are just as interested (some of them even more) in the commercials as the game, a rarity in TV. As a result, memorable ads can secure a brand's reputation, while misfires can seriously damage it -- and even lead to lawsuits.
Many of this year's most-buzzed about campaigns include celebrities, which is a good way to grab attention but doesn't always pay off, said Carl Marci, chief neuroscientist at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience.
"One of the things we learned by looking at the Super Bowl over the past several years is having a celebrity is not a guarantee of success," Marci said. "The celebrity has to be tied into the story of the ad. Celebrities in and of themselves can't overcome issues with the creative."
This year's game will pit the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 7 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The contest will be aired by CBS, the parent company of CBS MoneyWatch.
Teasers aren't the only way to get viewers watching. What Amobee principal brand analyst Jonathan Cohen calls "legacy associations" can help bring eyeballs to some brands' commercials, such as Budweiser (BUD), which has aired popular Super Bowl ads featuring puppies and Clydesdales in the past few games.
"Budweiser has had the most popular Super Bowl ad two years in a row, and while they're not returning to the cute puppy well again this year, there have been rumors that Mac, a newborn Clydesdale horse is going to make an appearance," Cohen said.
That type of suspense can get viewers to stick around to find out how brands that produced prior years' favorites will tackle this year's Super Bowl. Legacy associations can even help companies that aren't planning to advertise in Super Bowl 50. Amobee found that both Nationwide and GoDaddy received significant buzz in digital media last month, even though neither are returning to the game this year.
Read on to learn about nine campaigns that are already generating buzz before the game.
Super Bowl 50 is on Sunday, Feb. 7 on CBS.