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This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials…Anticlimactic?

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Everyone knows the best part of the Super Bowl - the commercials. One day a year Americans skip the fast-forward button on their DVRs and direct their gaze on the television, assiduously watching every second of these highly-anticipated commercials.

The annual ritual of watching Super Bowl ads may be anticlimactic this year, as many companies have pre-released their spots on YouTube and social media sites. Will football fans still tune into the commercials? "Absolutely," says Brian Steinberg, television editor at Advertising Age. Leaking their Super Bowls ads are for the "web savvy" and not the "digital illiterate," Steinberg says in the above video. The whole reason to pre-release ads is to create a buzz and to "get people talking, posting about these ads," he notes. The ads will still be new for many fans who don't get a chance to preview them before the game on Sunday.

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The usual Super Bowl players will again make an appearance, like Pepsi, Budweiser and Go Daddy.com. Viewers can also expect to see many more ads from car companies, both foreign and domestic, says Steinberg. Honda hired actor Matthew Broderick for its commercial and Audi decided to play off the popularity of vampires in its ad. (See all the car ads here on Yahoo! Motoramic) Babies, sex and animals are guaranteed winners, and there's no shortage of any of those this year. Aside from the rush to pre-release ads, the commercials will be longer this year and have a broader story to tell, says Steinberg. Viewers will be encouraged to visit advertisers' specific websites to learn more about the characters and new products.

Two of the most recognized football franchises are playing each other in Super Bowl XLVI -- the New York Giants and the New England Patriots -- guaranteeing another blockbuster year of ratings. More and more people have been tuning into the game each year, and more than 106 million people watched the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV. That game is the most watched program in U.S. television history, surpassing the record set in 1983 by the series finale of M-A-S-H.

Super Bowl advertising commands big money and every 30-second ad that will air Sunday is reported to cost $3.5 million. Steinberg says NBC, this year's Super Bowl broadcaster, has charged companies anywhere from $3 million to $4 million for a package deal, meaning the company's advertising money will be spread across other sporting events on the network. Whether or not it's money well spent continues to be debated. Steinberg does point out that very few properties on television can bring in that large of an audience anymore, especially in the age of TIVO and DVRs.

What's your favorite Super Bowl commercial?

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