(Well, technically, Apple may have been the first advertiser to "pre-release" its legendary "1984" Super Bowl ad 30 years ago by quietly airing it a few times in places such as Twin Falls, Idaho, in late 1983; it did so to qualify the commercial for advertising awards.)
Now, pre-release promotion is common. Many advertisers have released teasers on YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. And many advertisers release the ads themselves days before the game, seemingly undercutting their big-game "reveal."
The idea, of course, is to create buzz before the buzz starts.
SodaStream's Johansson commercial, released this week, led to calls for a boycott of the Israeli-based company; a Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial family also got media attention after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus objected to MSNBC's characterization of it in a tweet. (MSNBC tweeted, "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww," but then withdrew it and apologized.)
This year, Volkswagen promoted its Super Bowl commercial with a teaser ad making fun of Super Bowl ads. It will also run mobile ads mentioning its Super Bowl ad after the game in an effort to capture residual interest, according to Clayton.
But there's a limit to how much anyone can keep hyping the hype; search-engine queries for Super Bowl ads start to fall quickly about 48 hours after the game ends, she said.
At which point, of course, the company will be thinking about the 2015 Super Bowl.