I grew up in a family where sports weren’t really a thing. Rarely was a game on the TV. And unless it was the Olympics, we didn’t have a team we were particularly rooting for. That’s all to say, for me, the Super Bowl has always been about the ads — long before I knew a career in advertising as an art director was my path.
But for all my love of Super Bowl ads, it’s now common practice for brands and the media to ‘preview’ the commercials days before the big game. Ads are posted and shown all over the place, which leaves me wandering through the internet with my proverbial fingers in my ears as I purposefully go down some other internet rabbit hole to distract me from a fun, shiny object I love.
I want to see them – I’m so curious. But part of the joy of Super Bowl spots, for me, is seeing them where and when they were meant to be and without a hint of what’s going to be funny or heartwarming or even disappointing. It’s the communal nature of it all. Watching them with other people, experiencing everyone’s reactions. It’s just not the same to watch the spots here at work, in one of too many browser windows open on my laptop and listening with one earbud. Besides, I’m likely moments away from having to hit pause when my phone rings or Slack dings or someone stops by to talk about a project.
Now, of course, I get it from a brand perspective. I work at an ad agency. The more exposure, the better. After all, why just have people talking about your commercial or your product for a few days after the game when you can have commentary and build up for days or weeks before? Still, I do my best to avoid them and wait patiently. (Full disclosure, I had an accidental viewing of Hyundai’s Smaht Pahk). But, from a creative point of view, I do love when you can tease out a spot and tell even more of a story.
And, admittedly, I guess that’s kind of what I’m doing here. That’s because we have two statewide campaign launches during the big game. One is for a client known for entertaining and memorable TV commercials. The other covers an important topic that affects us all, which makes it that much more compelling because people will most likely be watching with family and friends. So, I hope it sparks conversation and I hope it makes a difference.
Enjoy your football and your ads – and, of course, your snacks. While I hope you see the spots in the moment, surrounded by your people – you can check back here after the game and see our Super Bowl ads in case you missed them.
P.S. As it turns out – I do have a team I root for – and they’re a pretty great crew to work with.
South Carolina Lottery – Tiny Stories
South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services – Just Plain Killers