Sheetz, other Super Bowl advertisers get early start

Spending nearly

David Weissman
GRIT President and founder Julie Lando poses with a video of the pre-released Sheetz Super Bowl television ad at the marketing group's York City offices Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. She says companies are trending toward showing their ads before the game. Bill Kalina photo

Super Bowl viewers can no longer assume the commercials they see during the big game are being released for the first time.

One need look no further than Altoona-based Sheetz and its pre-released Super Bowl 50 ad for a lesson on assuming.

The gas station/convenience store chain's video, in which two people turn into donkeys after one assumes "You can't get good food at a gas station," is indicative of a growing trend, according to Julie Lando, president of York-based Grit Marketing Group.

Other companies with Super Bowl ads already posted to YouTube include Budweiser, T-Mobile and PokemonLando said she's seeing more and more companies each year begin their Super Bowl advertising campaign ahead of the game.

"From the company's perspective, they're able to gain momentum and break through some of the clutter of all the ads on game night," Lando said. "It's an interesting strategy that helps them take advantage of how much money they're spending."

Companies are spending an average of $4.8 million for a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl 50, according to Advertising Age Datacenter's estimates.

Releasing those advertisements early can turn a one-night ad into a 10-day campaign, Lando said.

"For that much money, companies want to create a Super Bowl experience," she said.

The only down side of releasing the ads early is the loss of the "A ha," or "That's clever," moment, according to Lando.

Beyond the commercial, companies with Super Bowl ads are planning out social media posts and contests, she said.

Super Bowl 50, more than any previous one, will be the year of the "second screen," Lando said, because this is the first year the game can be livestreamed though devices such as Apple TV.

"Last year, mobile devices were the second screen," she said. "This year, televisions are actually going to be the second screen because people are going to be interacting more on their laptops, tablets and smart phones."

Based on what she's seen so far, Lando said she expects this year's ads to be on the lighter side after more serious, heavy ads last year. She's most looking forward to Bud Light's campaign featuring comedians Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer.

"I'm interested to see how far they'll take it," she said. "You never know with those two."

— Reach David Weissman at