NEW YORK – The Super Bowl's ad games have been underway for weeks now, but there are still some surprises left.
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More than 20 ads already have already been posted online by companies hoping to capture social media attention in the days leading up to the big game.
But Coca-Cola, Turbo Tax and Weight Watchers are among those waiting to unveil their full ads to the more than 110 million viewers expected to watch the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.
"If you're waiting to show your commercial this year, you have to be very confident that you're good enough to attract attention just on game day," said Tim Calkins, marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.
Companies will of course also have teams of employees hoping to score with clever, well-timed posts on social media throughout the game. One of the most memorable moments from the 2013 game, for example, was a tweet from Oreo. When a blackout hit the stadium early in the game, the company posted an image of an Oreo cloaked in darkness with the tagline "You can still dunk in the dark."
It got more than 10,000 retweets on Twitter within an hour.
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Here's an early look at what to expect. Check back throughout the night for updates.
COKE WANTS TO SPREAD HAPPINESS
Coca-Cola says its 60-second ad during the first quarter will "tackle the pervasive negativity polluting social media feeds" and make the web a happier place. The idea is in line with the company's long-running marketing strategy of associating its soft drinks with happiness.
The spot also reflects an early theme that seems to be emerging this year, with multiple ads seeking to address social or family issues. Procter & Gamble, for instance, is running an ad that features young women upending the idea of what it means to do things "like a girl."
By aligning themselves with feel-good causes, companies are hoping to engender goodwill from consumers.
NO RED FLAGS
GoDaddy decided not to run an ad that showed a dog being sold online so as not to offend dog lovers. The Victoria's Secret angels are fully clothed in its teaser spot, at least, although they reveal more in their actual Super Bowl ad. And an anti-domestic abuse commercial will have a high profile-spot during the game after a year of domestic violence scandals in the NFL.
Advertisers have to find a balance between grabbing people's attention and not going too far to shock or offend. They want to be sure to make the estimated $4.5 million they're spending for a 30-second Super Bowl ad worth it. This year, that seems to mean erring on the side of caution.
"Companies are being more prudent," said MediaPost columnist Barbara LIppert. "It's also a very weird atmosphere with all the coverage about deflated balls and domestic abuse. Maybe advertisers want to be a little more careful in that climate."
There will be 15 newcomers to advertising's biggest stage on this year, including Loctite glue and website host Wix.com. That's the highest number of newbies since 2000.
Advertising experts say the interest from first-time advertisers is a sign companies are feeling good about the most recent economic recovery.
Still, for about $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, Super Bowl ads are a big gamble for small companies. Some succeed in becoming a household name; Godaddy.com established itself with a racy Super Bowl spot 11 years ago. But others misfire; Groupon's first and only Super Bowl effort in 2011 aimed to be a tongue-in-cheek take on public service announcements, but was criticized for being insensitive
MCDONALD'S WANTS LOVING
Taking a page from Coca-Cola, McDonald's recently launched an ad campaign seeking to tie its brand with the uplifting emotion of loving.
For its Super Bowl ad, the fast-food chain is featuring a promotion that lets randomly selected customers pay for their orders with small acts of love, like a high-five or a call to a relative. The promotion starts Monday and runs through Feb. 14
Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi