Teasers Help Toyota, Mercedes-Benz Score Big in Super Bowl Ad War

Apparently a Rav4 genie is as alluring as it sounds.

Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) commercial featuring The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco as a genie granting Rav4-related wishes for a family of four is so far the most watched Super Bowl ad on the web, according to Visible Measures, a video analytics and advertising company.

The Japanese automaker’s “Wish Granted” ad campaign scored 16.2 million views as of Sunday night, helped in part by a strong pre-game push, which included a teaser that has driven more than 3.4 million views, according to Visible Measures’ True Reach platform.

It’s a rewarding feat, as ads featured on pristine 2013 Super Bowl real estate cost in the neighborhood of $4 million for a 30-second spot.

In today's digital world, however, the real Super Bowl winners were brands that not only splurged on game-day commercials but also teased them ahead of time, generating pre-game buzz via teasers and other marketing ploys.

In fact, analyzing past years' data, Visible Measures found that brands that release content prior to game-day generate about 600% more video views for their campaigns than those that don’t.

“So far for 2013, that trend is holding,” said Matt Fiorentino, Visible Measures’ director of marketing. The top four campaigns of Super Bowl 2013 each had a teaser component to them.

True Reach measures the performance of all the clips related to an ad across the web, not just on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube. It combines the viewership from videos uploaded by the brands as well as the copies and derivative content such as parodies and mashups uploaded by audiences, giving an overall sense of the buzz an ad has created.

At a distant second with more than 12 million views was Mercedes-Benz, whose “Soul” ad featured a handful of stars including Usher, William Dafoe and Kate Upton. The ad benefited significantly from a teaser staring Upton and a Mercedes-Benz CLA being washed in slow motion that garnered more than 6.5 million views as of Sunday night.

Volkswagen maintains the title of most-watched Super Bowl brand of all time, thanks largely to the Star Wars theme that carried it over the last two years. This year, the Beetle maker’s “Get Happy” ad featuring an eccentrically optimistic business man from Minnesota with a Jamaican accent came in third on the True Reach scale with 11.6 million views, helped in part by a teaser that contributed more than 1.8 million.

Samsung’s “The Next Big Thing” featuring comedy stars Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen came in fourth. The ad, which launched late Saturday night, has more than 11.4 million True Reach views and its teaser has 1.8 million. While the teaser is driving the majority of the viewership, Visible Measures says the game-day ad is “climbing fast.”

Campaigns from Audi, Hyundai, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (NYSE:BUD) Budweiser and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) also made True Reach’s Top 10.

Surprisingly, some of Super Bowl 2013’s most popular game-day commercials, including Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” and M&M’s “Love Ballad” ad featuring Glee star Naya Rivera did not make the list. The latter did not release a teaser.

However, Visible Measures said the rankings could shuffle over the next few days as game-day ads get more traction. In the past couple of years, about half of the overall ad campaign views for the Super Bowl occurred in the days immediately following the game.

In 2012, for example, there were more than 180 million Super Bowl ad views through the Thursday after the game, a little less than half than the 400 million total views last year’s Super Bowl has generated over the past 12 months.

“This means that the Top 10 ads will likely shift,” Fiorentino said. “We'll have to wait and see how much.”