Pre-Game Stunts Help Brands Leverage 2015 Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl XLIX is almost here. Are you ready for some football? Or are you all about the ads?

There's no denying that the Super Bowl has become an event that extends beyond football to appeal to a larger crowd, thanks to the halftime show and clever TV commercials. This year, the big game is on Sunday, February 1. But Super Bowl advertisers aren't waiting around. Some brands are generating pre-game buzz for themselves through different advertising approaches. How different? Judge for yourself.

Bud Light – House of Whatever
Are you #UpforWhatever? Apparently, devoted Bud Light fans are. During Super Bowl weekend, a Phoenix hotel rooftop will be overrun by worthy (and auditioned) partiers who will live it up in Bud Light's House of Whatever. (Last summer, Bud Light flew in people who were "up for whatever" to visit Whatever, USA, for an action-packed weekend in Colorado that included confetti-storming raves, a Charli XCX concert, Hype-Hop Karaoke with Lil Jon, drag races, amusement park rides and tons more.) The House of Whatever is expected to feature the same kind of shenanigans, but footage might not be appropriate content for a Super Bowl ad. Speaking of which, Bud Light's Super Bowl ad does incorporate the #UpforWhatever theme, not to mention a life-size version of the classic Pac-Man video game.

Carnival – Marketing Challenge
Crowdsourcing isn't a new tactic – but it is for Carnival Cruises. The company sent out a call for submissions to video producers for 30-second TV spots that told the Carnival story. Four were chosen by online voters. Voters will narrow it down again to their ultimate favorite – the one that will appear as the company's Super Bowl ad. Great exposure for the video producers, but how are they getting people to vote? People can vote every 24 hours and one voter will win a cruise every year, for life.

Newcastle – Band of Brands
Beer brewer Newcastle understands the significance and value of a successful Super Bowl spot, but didn't want to fork over $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. And why should they when they've got Aubrey Plaza to make a case for a more "collaborative" approach? The Parks and Recreation star humorously implores other brands in the same boat to send Newcastle money to have their logos appear on Newcastle's Super Bowl ad. So what if the ad will only air in cheaper local markets and online? No one said anything about a national media buy …

Pepsi – Katy Perry: Super Bowl Halftime Show
Last year, Pepsi introduced its Hyped for Halftime campaign, a precursor to the big game to generate some excitement around the halftime show performance, which featured Bruno Mars. This year, Pepsi is taking things up a notch with the ever-extravagant and colorful Katy Perry. In this spot, Perry emerges from a bedazzled UFO to give us a glimpse of her Halftime Show Testing Facility and share all the weird and wonderful ideas she's got up her sleeves. But Perry's halftime show probably won't involve unicorns, fire-breathing sharks or edible glitter – will it?

Super Bowl XLIX is on Sunday, February 1, 2015, on NBC. Check back here the day after for a post-game wrap-up of our favorite Super Bowl ads.

Related post: 5 Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2014