You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Some Super Bowl Ads Won’t Air During the Big Game

Verizon has just 60 seconds to get its message out in a commercial it plans to run in this weekend’s Super Bowl. But if it needs more time, the company has it. A 30-minute documentary based on the same creative concept will run elsewhere.

The telecommunications giant plans to highlight the efforts of rescue workers, who often rely on its service to keep in touch. The overall campaign tells the real stories of 12 NFL players and Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, all of whom were saved from car accidents, natural disasters or house fires by first responders. But the company had so much material for its commercial that it decided to commission a documentary and hired director Peter Berg, best known for films like “Friday Night Lights” and “Patriots Day” to offer up more. The show will air 9 p.m. February 4 on CBS Sports Network.

When Berg met with Verizon Chief Marketing Officer, he was asked if he could tell the rescue stories without going over the top. Scotti told him, “I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t want to make this feel forced or unreal,” Berg recounts. “Can you do that?”

Some of the most intricate and involved advertising related to the Super Bowl will appear nowhere near the field of play, More Super Bowl advertisers are trying tactics similar to those of Verizon, putting money into other productions related to their big-game efforts.

Mars Inc., which will run an ad for M&Ms during CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LIII, will mount a half-hour musical for its fruit-flavored Skittles candy in New York on the afternoon of the game. PepsiCo unit Frito-Lay intends to live-stream 53 hours of a bowl of tortilla chips, starting at 1:29 p.m. ET Friday, Feb. 1, through 6:29 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 3 — ending exactly one minute before kickoff. The bowl will be regularly refilled, and various Tostitos flavors can be requested by fans commenting on the live-stream. NFL players will visit. And viewers who interact with the show may be able to win prizes.

“We started this with a very ‘omnichannel’ approach, so more people can get to experience the content,” says Scotti, in an interview. “What we find is when you start telling the story around all of these different angles, the message gets more powerful and more compelling.”

Advertisers for years had to bank on actually putting an ad in the game. With the advent of social media, however, they are more free to link promotional activities to the one that has everyone stirred up around Super Bowl weekend. To be sure, there are legal strictures about who can use the phrase “Super Bowl” and use official depictions of NFL play. But advertisers like Volvo can generate publicity around the event for things that have no official ties to it. The automaker is offering fans a “digital test drive” via just a few minutes before the real game gets underway.

This isn’t the first year advertisers have had a chance to go after Super Bowl fans in ways that don’t involve the TV set. In 2012, Coca-Cola set up a pair of animated polar bears on Facebook in their own live-stream who offered comments and quips in real time about the broadcast and commercials in Super Bowl XLVI. The bruin duo also took over Coke’s Twitter account during the event.

The main Super Bowl commercial remains important, says Verizon’s Scotti, but “I think marketers are missing an opportunity to create a longer-tail dialogue with the consumer.”Verizon’s documentary will also appear on Yahoo Sports and Fios.

More TV

  • Kate McKinnon Emily Lynne

    Audible, Broadway Video Ink Production Deal for Comedy Originals (EXCLUSIVE)

    Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video and Amazon’s Audible have struck a deal to create multiple audio-only original comedy programs for Audible listeners, Variety has learned, starting with an absurdist medieval series created by “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon and her sister Emily Lynne. “Heads Will Roll” is the first of Audible and Broadway Video’s joint [...]

  • A still from Leaving Neverland by

    'Leaving Neverland' Director Open to Potential Sequel to Controversial Michael Jackson Doc

    Ahead of its March 3 premiere on HBO, “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed tells Variety he is open to creating a follow-up to his controversial four-hour documentary revolving around sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson. If, that is, he would be able make contact with the King of Pop’s earlier high-profile accusers, Jordan Chandler and [...]

  • Roadside Attractions Acquires Drama Pilot 'The

    Roadside Attractions Acquires Drama Pilot 'The Golden Cage'

    Roadside Attractions Television has acquired one-hour drama pilot “The Golden Cage.” Described as a female-driven Wall Street thriller, the project hails from writer Oskar Nordmark. Darryl Taja (pictured) will serve as executive producer through his Epidemic Pictures. Adam Rodin will also exec produce. Nordmark created the series and will serve as co-executive producer. Roadside Attractions’ [...]

  • Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This

    Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This One Lets You Get Offers Via Email

    Hulu lets its subscribers choose the show they want to see. Now the video-streaming service is increasingly letting users choose to respond to certain commercials right away. A commercial from Sleep Number, the manufacturer of the bed with an adjustable mattress, that has run on Hulu for the past several weeks allows viewers to request [...]

  • George Clooney’s ‘Catch-22’ Sells to Asia

    George Clooney’s ‘Catch-22’ Sells to Asia and Australia (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Catch-22” has caught the interest of several big-name global buyers. Chinese streaming platform iQiyi, Australian SVOD service Stan, and HBO Asia are among the latest to acquire the Hulu adaptation of Joseph Heller’s novel, which is produced by and stars George Clooney. Paramount’s TV distribution unit struck the new deals for the series, which will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content