Super Bowl ads are a great way to get people's attention, but they also cost millions of dollars. So what can you do if you don't want to pay that kind of money? One option is to pay for an affordable ad in a tiny town then accidentally release your "Super Bowl commercial" a few days early.
That's what happened Tuesday when The Verge, a tech news website started in 2011, published a story on its site featuring its ad for the upcoming Super Bowl, which will be played on Feb. 1. The story appeared to have been posted prematurely and was quickly shared by many on Twitter before being taken down by The Verge. Shortly after, Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media, which owns The Verge, linked to the ad on Twitter all the while lamenting that this was not how The Verge intended to release the commercial.
But by being released accidentally, or more likely "accidentally," the ad has attracted more attention than it likely would have otherwise. Vox Media has since confirmed that its Super Bowl ad was only slated to run in Helena, Montana, a tiny town of 30,000. By running in such a tiny market, Vox Media only paid $700, rather than the $4.5 million that it costs to buy a 30-second spot on the national broadcast of the NFL's championship game.
The Verge will not be able to reach the more than 100 million who are expected to tune in for Super Bowl XLIX, but its ad has already reached nearly 3,000 on YouTube and the entire affair has received write-ups by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and several others.