Old wisdom: releasing your Super Bowl ad early on the web builds excitement and buzz for your spot and gives it a huge boost online. New wisdom: still true, but it's not necessarily a requirement.
In a special edition of the Viral Chart this week, we're looking at cumulative online views for Super Bowl campaigns as of early yesterday. As expected, ads released before the game, such as Volkswagen's "The Dog Strikes Back" and Honda's "Matthew's Day Off" are doing well, as are a host of other spots released early from Audi, Kia and Toyota.
But what's striking is ads that weren't released before the game are also climbing up the chart, even though the competition had a head start. Chrysler's controversial "It's Halftime in America" gained this week, even though the spot wasn't available before the game, and it was briefly pulled down from YouTube over a mistaken copyright claim.
M&M's "Just My Shell" also did well, even thought the spot didn't go live online until the game (though there was a lightly viewed teaser). Samsung's ad was also new, but it was part of a bigger campaign targeting Apple that at this point many viewers recognize. The Doritos ads were already online, but no one knew the winner until the game.
Conclusion? Well, check back in in the coming weeks as we watch how these campaigns play out. Last year, VW worked the pre-release strategy to perfection with "The Force." This year, many emulated that approach. Long term, its the quality of the content (and the budget put behind distribution), not a few weeks head start, that determines who rises to the top.