Since the 1970s, the Super Bowl has been known as the granddaddy of all TV advertising opportunities, with companies ponying up huge bucks and devising elaborate and outrageous ads designed to stick in consumers’ heads long after they air. Increasingly, advertisers are seeing the Super Bowl as the granddaddy of all advertising opportunities on all channels, and tweaking ad design accordingly.

According to 1-to-1 Media, this year’s Super Bowl advertisers will use geolocation, social media and near-real-time content to extend the reach and value of ads beyond TV. For example, while close to 25 percent of Super Bowl ads in 2012 did not feature any kind of social media crossover (such as Twitter hashtag, QR code, etc.), that percentage is expected to be substantially smaller this year.

And some advertisers are expected to bring location-based services, such as sending targeted offers to consumers based on their geography, to their Super Bowl ads this year. In addition, 1-to-1 Media predicts some advertisers may try to build content around important plays shortly after they happen, citing an AT&T campaign during the 2012 Olympics that featured a gold medal performance from US swimmer Ryan Lochte moments after it happened.

Partially as a result of social media conversations that pop up throughout the Super Bowl and partially as a result of the Super Bowl losing its historic status as a dull, blowout game, advertisers are less resistant to running ads late in the game than they used to be. Although ads still get cheaper as the game progresses, AdAge reports in both the 2010 and 2011 Super Bowls, the most-watched ads occurred in the second half of the game.

This year, Allstate and Coca-Cola are even running big ads right after the game ends. Coke’s ad will include an ending chosen by viewers via social media during the game, demonstrating how social media and gamification are shifting the traditional rules of buying ads during sporting events which say the earlier, the better. 

Is the Money Well Spent? 

Yahoo Finance reports Super Bowl ads will cost close to US$ 4 million for a 30-second spot this year. That begs the question of whether the expense is worth it. The answer appears to be “usually.” About 111 million people are expected to watch this year.