One of the things about the Super Bowl is the anticipation of the six hours worth of commercials the game provides viewers. Since the game is the most-watched event each year, ad rates are at a premium and advertisers try to make certain their commercial is the most talked-about.
But, already, the trend is changing as many advertisers are already airing their Super Bowl ads online. Honda has produced a very funny "sequel" to the movie "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" as actor Matthew Broderick decides to take a sick day from work and tours around in a Honda CRV. It's a clever, well-executed concept.
One of last year's standout commercials, a "Star Wars"-themed Volkswagon commercial in which a child in a Darth Vader mask tries to use the force and believes he has the power to switch the car on, gets a sequel of its own involving an out-of-shape dog trying to chase a Volkswagon. However, the "Star Wars" reference is essentially tacked on at the end, and the commercial bombs.
But my question is, now having seen some of these ads already, what's my motivation to stay in my chair during game breaks and watch the commercials? I don't really need to see the CRV ad again, and I'm sure I'll see it many times afterward. Essentially, Honda is paying millions to air an ad people already saw for free.
Super Bowl ads were revolutionized in 1984 when Apple ran arguably the most significant TV ad in history. Ridley Scott directed the spot, an homage to the book "1984," to introduce viewers to the MacIntosh computer. I interviewed one of the creators of the ad a couple of years ago, and no one at the time knew how significant it would be. What made it even more special was that it was the only time the ad aired as a commercial (it was subsequently aired in specials and news programs).
Since then, Super Bowl ads have been almost as anticipated as the big game itself. But this new "previewing" of the ads may undermine that.
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 9 p.m.) went all "Glee" with a musical episode earlier this year. Now it goes all "Fringe" with an alternate universe episode that explores "what if" things unfolded differently. It's followed by "Private Practice," still set in the proper universe.
NBC's sitcoms are new, followed by a new "The Firm" at 10 p.m. CBS has new episodes of "Big Bang Theory," "Rob," "Person of Interest," and "The Mentalist."
There's new installments of "Vampire Diaries" and "Secret Circle" on The CW, while Fox has "American Idol" and "The Finder" from 8-10 p.m.
On cable, "Archer" (FX, 10 p.m.) is new, followed by "Unsupervised."