M&Ms go for Super Bowl stealth

While other advertisers lay it all out before the big game, the candy maker wants to lure viewers with secrecy.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 14, 2013 12:42PM

Image: Watching television (Klaus Tiedge/Getty Images/Getty Images)With the Super Bowl ranking as the country's costliest advertising purchase, many advertisers roll out their commercials early, aiming to get more bang for their millions of bucks.


But M&Ms isn't buying the conventional wisdom that an early ad release is the best approach. 


The candy brand, owned by Mars, won't even talk about the basic elements of its Super Bowl spot and doesn't have any plans to leak information about the ad, reports Advertising Age. Only a few things are known about the spot: It will air in the game's first quarter and use a new tagline, "Better with M." It also won't introduce a new M&M character, as the brand did last year with Ms. Brown, the brown-shelled candy.


The Super Bowl is increasingly separating between two camps of advertisers: those who tease or even preview their ads before the game, and a second group that aims to wow consumers with a new spot. 


With the advent of social media, it's increasingly tempting for advertisers to jump into the first group. Getting consumers to tweet, chat and post Facebook comments about campaigns can help build awareness of a brand before the game. 

There's a lot at stake for marketers: This year's Super Bowl, which airs Feb. 3 on CBS, is the priciest one yet for advertisers. The average 30-second Super Bowl spot sells for $3.7 million to $3.8 million. 


Among those who pre-release their game-day ads is Doritos, which runs a "Crash the Super Bowl" competition allowing fans to create and vote on which Doritos ads will air during the game. 


One first-time Super Bowl advertiser -- Wonderful Pistachios -- told MSN Money Now earlier this month that it's banking on keeping its advertisement under wraps until the game. Its commercial will feature Korean pop star PSY.


"It made sense to hold it back and have everyone surprised," said Marc Seguin, the company's vice president of marketing. "That way we can continue the conversation after the Super Bowl."


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