Cliff Maroney February 1, 2013 | 03:11:17

To Preview Or Not to Preview: That Is The Super Bowl PR Question

While getting a head start on the competition is generally viewed as a smart strategy, does it translate into (PR) points for Super Bowl advertisers? Which method pays bigger dividends – previewing, or creating anticipation by waiting? Here are the two views.

The Upside: Maximum Exposure
By choosing to broadcast commercials or teasers, sponsors get a prime opportunity for buzz. Let’s face it, people love to share things via social media, and what better event to “tease” than America’s most-watched sporting event. And given that the unofficial motto for Super Bowl marketing is “go big or go home,” previews enable sponsors to get more yardage for their commercial investment. Considering the costs, earned media exposure can go a long way to maximize ROI.

The Downside: Ripples, Not Waves
While previews can give brands get a head start, it may not be the best strategy for those hoping to make a big splash. For example, for a new brand –or even a brand that hasn’t advertised in the Super Bowl before – arriving unannounced to the party can pay dividends, providing media with the unexpected “underdog” tale on advertising’s biggest stage and its noisiest annual story.

The Verdict
The decision sometimes comes down to practical matters like prep time. Often, agencies are working on Super Bowl spots up until the last minute, so an advance viewing strategy isn’t viable. Factors like brand profile, creative approach, and history are also worth considering.

Inventive content is likely to be shared, and the simple fact of the Super Bowl investment puts the advertiser in rarefied company. For a smaller brand, pre-promotion usually makes sense. It maximizes the spend and hedges the risk of getting lost in the clutter.

More established advertisers with strong track records, on the other hand, often have a built-in audience who may be waiting to see the latest creative spot. They may not choose to share the actual spot in advance, but pre-publicity to build anticipation is recommended.

The Super Bowl isn’t always a game-changer, but it’s a big hit for any advertiser, regardless of PR strategy. Not only are millions of people watching, but it may actually be the only time people want to see commercials. So, either approach can be a winner!

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