—David Mitchel, Marketing Manager

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will be playing in the Super Bowl in just a little less than two weeks. The Super Bowl is much more than just a championship game. It is time for parties, often with copious amounts of salty food being served. For brands, it is occasion to have a message in front of approximately 100 million people who are consciously paying attention to ads, which doesn’t happen on the other 364 days of the year. For advertising agencies that serve the brands, this is their Christmas, where all their hard work, preparation and most importantly billable hours come to fruition.

Super Bowl season in the DuetsBlog space isn’t complete without me writing something about it. Three years ago, I wrote this comprehensive evaluation of whether or not advertising during the Super Bowl makes sense for a brand. All of the salient points from that article remain true today, and I highly recommend the article for an in-depth perspective. The most important thing that has changed since then is the cost of a 30-second ad. This year, 30-second Super Bowl ad space will cost $3.7-$3.8 million, which is up from $2.5-2.8 million 3 years ago. The percentage price increase of a 30-second Super Bowl spot will far exceed the rate of CPI calculated inflation over the past 3 years, making Super Bowl ad space a category like healthcare costs and college tuition. Two years ago, I reviewed the ads after the game. Last year, I reviewed all of the Super Bowl logos, a total of 46, from a marketing perspective.

So, what will be hot trends for Super Bowl XLVII ads? Which brands will be talked about the next day at the water cooler and in the social media space?

Over the past 2-3 years, it has been commonplace for brands to release the Super Bowl ads online during the two-week build up to the game. This has been done for brands to build buzz in the news cycle before the game, get mentions in social media and use other avenues to drive ROI on those costly ads. Overall, the trend will continue, and if you are eagerly anticipating watching Super Bowl ads before the game, most brands will indulge your curiosity. But one brand will forge a different path, and that brand is M&M’s. M&M’s will not be releasing any details about the Super Bowl ad before the game. You’ll just have to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to see it. Call it a bit of pre-social-media-era nostalgia. I like how M&M’s is daring to be different.

Doritos is doing the Crash the Super Bowl campaign again. Crash the Super Bowl allows individuals to submit their own Doritos ads, and the ones that get the most votes get aired on Super Bowl Sunday. You’ll see some funny ads on Super Bowl Sunday. I especially liked this ad. I tend to think of myself as someone with a keen eye for quality ads and it can also be a challenge to show me something new. But this ad accomplished it, and I believe it is a strong contender to be aired that day. It has a small child and a cute animal in it, and kids and animals are often keys to a buzzy Super Bowl ad. The slate of 6 Finalists is impressive though.

As sure as the sun is to rise, GoDaddy.com will have an ad that will titillate. Supermodel Bar Refaeli, who was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2009, will join Danica Patrick in the spot. GoDaddy has advertised during every Super Bowl since 2005, and the slate of Super Bowl ads over the years has certainly raised brand awareness and been a contributing factor to the success of the company.

Speaking of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models and supermodels in general, you’ll see Kate Upton in a spot for Mercedes Benz. You may remember Kate Upton from this Carl’s Jr. ad (borderline NSFW), so it will be interesting to see how Mercedes Benz features her. Mercedes Benz cars and Carl’s Jr. burgers are much different consumer purchases and there are differences in target markets. Upton will not be in a bikini during the ad. Signs point to her being clothed in a more refined and upscale dress during the ad.

The ultimate test for a Super Bowl ad is not scoring well on USA Today’s AdMeter after the game, or getting the most Twitter mentions. The ultimate test of the effectiveness of the Super Bowl ad is increasing the amount of product sold and increasing a brand’s market share. Often times, it takes weeks, months or even years to determine if Super Bowl ads do their jobs. Over time, a brand like Coca-Cola has made their Super Bowl ad spends worthwhile. I’m looking forward to this year’s slate of Super Bowl ads, but a Super Bowl is most successful when the football game is far more compelling than the advertising slate.