Victoria's Secret has joined the conga line of brands—including Lexus, Bud Light, Budweiser, Mercedes and Kia—releasing their Super Bowl ads before the game.
This year marks the third game in which the lingerie brand is running an ad, with its most recent appearance in 2008. Similar to 2008's ad, this year's spot (which was created in-house) will run during the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter of the game. Running an ad toward the end of the telecast can be a risky move if the game isn't a nail-biter, which explains why Victoria's Secret is releasing the ad ahead of time with a heavy emphasis on social media.
"This year, we thought we had a lot of momentum and a lot of wind in our sales coming out of the holiday season and it just seemed like a good opportunity," said chief marketing officer Ed Razek.
Last week, Victoria's Secret released a 90-second online video featuring Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge, Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes and Behati Prinsloo dressed as football players who win a game. All of the models (plus Karlie Kloss) also star in the final Super Bowl ad. Creatively though, last week's online video is far from Victoria's Secret's in-game ad.
"We're not crazy enough to do a commercial where all of our girls are dressed like football players," Razek said "We do what we do—it's two weeks to Valentine's Day."
Here is the Super Bowl ad:
And here is the online video:
Instead of football players, the final ad pieces together footage from shoots over the past 18 months. Only one shot of Adriana Lima was filmed specifically for the Super Bowl in the beginning of January.
"We only shot one piece of new material for this commercial—we decided to come to the game late and then we wanted to leverage every opportunity," Razek said. "It's the Super Bowl—you're trying not to do something that's a specific product type of commercial."
Razek said the decision to run a Super Bowl ad happened on Dec. 19—10 days after the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show aired on CBS. Viewership for that program among 18-34 year olds grew 27 percent year over year.
Beyond the TV ad, the Victoria's Secret campaign includes social media outreach to millennial consumers via Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
"Social for us—particularly for our customer base—is one of the most significant pieces of our advertising strategy," Razek said. "We've got a very loyal fan base, but the models [also] have a very loyal fan base."
Indeed, Candice Swanepoel has 4.7 million Instagram followers. Adriana Lima counts 4 million, Doutzen Kroes boasts 2.5 million and Karlie Kloss has 1.8 million Instagram followers.
For an up-to-date roster of this year's Super Bowl advertisers, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker.