By Sahil Patel
Yes, the Olympics are right around the corner, and that’s a major focal point for many of the biggest brand advertisers. But before the festivities begin in Sochi, there’s another huge sporting event that viewers and advertisers will be paying attention to — the Super Bowl.
To tap into online conversations about the game, and really the high-profile advertising that breaks up the game, YouTube is once again launching the Ad Blitz channel. Similar to last year, the channel will feature teasers for some of the ads that are scheduled to air during the Super Bowl, which will take place on February 2 in the great state of New Jersey.
In addition to the ad previews, the Ad Blitz channel will feature custom content created by various YouTubers as well as Super Bowl team analysis and highlights from Fox Sports (which is airing the game on TV and online).
Of course, with it being YouTube, and the web, and the Super Bowl, fans will also be able to vote on their favorite ads as well as create GIFs of their favorite commercial highlights, which will be shareable across various social networks. There’s also a “multi-screen toss and catch game,” for those of you who are really interested in syncing up your mobile devices to play a virtual game of catch.
YouTube says that last year more than half of Super Bowl advertisers used the site to launch their Super Bowl campaigns early. The reasoning was that the Super Bowl is no longer a siloed event for viewers or advertisers. For a long time, the thinking was that viewers would watch the game and commercials, and then talk about them at the water cooler the next day. But with the rise of social media, that’s no longer the case.
Keeping with that logic, advertisers are now using the Super Bowl itself as a tentpole event to build extended, multi-platform campaigns around. And there’s data to back them up: YouTube says last year Super Bowl ads on the site were watched more than 80 million times before game day. What’s more, people watched 3.2 million hours of Super Bowl ads on YouTube across all of 2013, with game-day ads being viewed more than 265 million times in total.
It no longer begins or ends with the Super Bowl, says YouTube, and with the Ad Blitz channel, the platform to help advertisers take advantage of that.