Tomorrow, many people will be watching Super Bowl XLV to see if the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Green Bay Packers. But Nielsen Sports media research says close to 50 percent of viewers will actually watch the commercials more than they watch the game.
But with the Fox Network charging an estimated $2.8 million to $3 million for a 30-second spot, this means advertisers are spending as much as $100,000 a second to be seen by an audience that may or may not top the record of 106.5 million people who watched Super Bowl XLIV last year.
So, many advertisers are using social media like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to "build buzz" before the Super Bowl so that more people are less likely to take a bathroom break during their commercials.
So, for marketers and all those people who will be watching the commercials instead of the game, here are my Super Bowl predictions:
In the automotive category, I predict that Volkswagen will beat Audi by a two to one margin.
Now, Audi will score first by running it's 60-second spot for the new Audi A8 in the first quarter. "Audi - Goodnight Commercial" says goodnight to old luxury in this homage to a classic children's story.
According to YouTube's video statistics, it has over 612,000 views. It also has 773 "Likes" and 121 "Dislikes."
According to the Viral Video Chart, its has been shared 7,831 times: 7,315 on Facebook, 489 on Twitter, and 27 in blog posts.
But Volkswagen will score in the second and fourth quarter with two spots that are already generating more buzz in social media and are likely to win first and second place when the game is over.
According to The Viral Video Chart powered by Unruly Media, the favorite is "Volkswagen Commercial: The Force." The 60-second spot features a pint-sized Darth Vader who uses the Force when he discovers the all-new 2012 Passat in the driveway. It leverages humor and the unforgettable Star Wars score to create an emotional commercial.
According to YouTube's video statistics, "The Force" already has more than 9.5 million views and 58 "honours" worldwide. It also has 48,500 "Likes" and less than 700 "Dislikes."
According to the Viral Video Chart, it has already been shared 377,546 times: 356,906 times on Facebook, 20,403 times on Twitter, and 237 times in blog posts.
The other is "Volkswagen Commercial: Black Beetle." In the 30-second spot for The 21st Century Beetle, cutting-edge CGI creative goes entomological, creating a photo-real lush kingdom where the Black Beetle rules, runs, navigates and out performs all the other creatures.
According to YouTube's video statistics, "Black Beetle" has over 939,000 views. It also has 3,559 "Likes" and "19" "Dislikes."
According to the Viral Video Chart, it has already been shared 15,807 times: 14,576 times on Facebook, 1,210 times on Twitter, and 21 in blog posts.
Now, there are other automotive players in this year's Super Bowl, including: BMW, Bridgestone, CarMax, Cars.com, Chevrolet, Chrysler Group, Hyundai, Kia, and Mercedes-Benz.
But the only one that has even an outside chance of knocking off Audi to end up in third place is the 60-second spot from Kia Motors America. It will also air in the first quarter.
You travel through space and time as a policeman, villain, Poseidon, alien and ancient chief try to get their hands on the all‐new Optima. Prepare for "One Epic Ride".
According to YouTube's video statistics, "One Epic Ride" has 45,296 views. It also has 148 "Likes" and 3 "Dislikes."
According to the Viral Video Chart, it has already been shared 310 times: 255 times on Facebook, 52 times on Twitter, and 3 times in blog posts.
In other categories, here are my picks for Super Bowl commercials that will generate some buzz for a few days after the game:
Motorola Mobility will be running a 60-second spot in the second quarter for its new Motorola Xoom tablet. As the video description says, "2011 looks a lot like 1984. One authority. One design. One way to work."
According to YouTube's video statistics, this already has more than 635,000 views. It also has 859 "Likes" and 872 "Dislikes." (Do you get the feeling that iPad owners don't appreciate the irony evoked by this spoof of Apple's classic "1984" Super Bowl commercial?)
According to the Viral Video Chart, it has already been shared 2,276 times: 1,473 on Facebook, 763 on Twitter, and 40 in blog posts.
Doritos is trying hard to generate some buzz with "Told You So - 2011 Doritos Superbowl Commercial Ad." As a neighbor trims his hedges he notices something very appetizing next door...
According to YouTube's video statistics, this has 663,379 views. It also has 894 "Likes" and 45 "Dislikes."
According to the Viral Video Chart, it has been shared 17,286 times: 16,900 on Facebook, 374 on Twitter, and 12 in blog posts.
And GoDaddy.com is also trying hard to create some buzz with "GoDaddy.com - The Contract." In the 30-second spot, Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels think twice about this year's GoDaddy.com Super Bowl commercial.
According to YouTube's video statistics, this video has 154 views. It also has 0 "Likes" and 0 "Dislikes." According to the Viral Video Chart, no one has shared it on Facebook, Twitter or in blog posts. So, who knows, maybe this attempt at creating some faux controversy won't work.
Finally, the Fox News Channel on YouTube uploaded "Coca Cola Super Bowl Commercial," which features two border guards finding detente in a bottle in soft drink maker's big game spot. Did Fox get permission to do that, or is this fall under the "fair use" exception in U.S. copyright law?
In either case, embedding of this video has been disabled. So, you'll need to click on the link about to see the Coke commercial.
Now, there are also likely to be some surprises during Super Bowl XLV. As Stuart Elliott observed in his article in yesterday's New York Times, "Before Sunday, a Taste of the Bowl," some advertisers are keeping their commercials under wraps until the moment they go on the air.
So, stay tuned to see what actually happens. That's why they play the game.