Online videos are the new Super Bowl ads... kind of. Old Spice Man actually started as a cheeky non-Super-Bowl commercial online, timed to generate buzz around the game. Last year, Volkswagen put "The Force" online ahead of the actual game, and it helped generate more publicity for the ad--which went on to be voted one of the best of the game, despite having actually aired online first. And now after leaking last week on Jalopnik, Honda has gone ahead and released their once-secret Ferris Bueller Super Bowl commercial in its entirety online.

Ferris Bueller Super Bowl Commercial Now Online

The whole thing began with a tease from Honda themselves:

Then, on Friday, Jalopnik ruined the surprise by revealing the teaser was for a Honda ad--disappointing many fans who wrongly assumed there was now a sequel to Ferris Bueller's Day Off on the way (there is not).

So then Honda took the weekend to consider their options and finally realized they only had one choice: release the ad early. And so according to All Things D, they did just that this morning. You can see it for yourself right here:

[Video removed from YouTube]

Judging by the early comments, the audience is mixed. Actually, there are a fairly high number of negative comments. However, the Likes far outnumber the Dislikes, which usually indicates the overall majority enjoyed the video. It's stuck on 300 views or so, doing that lock-up thing the YouTube counter does when a video first takes off. I'm sure it'll "go viral" by most everyone's standards.

Personally? I'm not terribly impressed. I enjoyed some of the homage moments nodding to the original film, but many of them were a little flat for me. I've definitely seen better ads, and better online video ads from Honda. That being said, I think the masses will enjoy it. It's a nice, playful walk down Nostalgia Lane, and that will appeal to a lot of viewers, even if the overall concept is a little... uninspired.

But I bet you I can still find some lessons here for other marketers...

What Can You Learn From Honda's Ferris Bueller Ad

First... don't let the details of your big event ad leak. Keep your inner circle tighter than Honda did in this case. I have no idea how long the game-version of the ad is, but the web version is over 2 minutes, which would be a staggering cost to have paid for Super Bowl airtime only to have the ad's surprise impact spoiled by a car blog.

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Second... be careful what you tease and how you tease. I don't think there's any way for Honda to have known what kind of fever pitch their teaser would ignite. Sure, they wanted to pique interest, but I doubt they knew people would be clamoring so passionately for details that a leak would be sprung. Ultimately, their own teaser did them in. Of course, you could argue they had to tease it to truly generate buzz--which leads me to my next point...

Third... the web is now a viable place to tease all kinds of video content, even traditional TV ads--ads teasing ads. Honda wouldn't be doing this just out of pure defeat. I think it's entirely possible that it was in their plans all along to release the ad online early. After all, it was uploaded on the 26th, and only made public today. Maybe the leak just pushed up the deadline? Either way, they and every other major advertiser saw what Volkswagen did last year by putting their ad online ahead of the game, and it definitely didn't hurt that ad's performance or reputation in the least.

I seriously doubt the ultimate impression of the ad or its effectiveness will be damaged by having the ad leak early.


I'm not suggesting that our regular readers are all working on Super Bowl campaigns, though I'm sure some might be. But even smaller businesses and video marketers can look for and spot trends in online video as a whole--and responding to those trends is the way to stay ahead of the game. We've got online videos teasing movies, tv shows, tv ads, and even other online videos. It's the beginning of the online video revolution, and you're in on the ground floor. Don't be Ferris Bueller and take a day off... learn from what's going on around you and stay ahead of the pack.

  • My Web Presenters

    That is pretty disappointing; one of my favourite films has just been ruined by the star.

  • Greg Dickson

    It really could of been so great - it just missed the mark.

  • Grant Crowell

    Kirk Wakefield, a professor at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, says that growing research shows the $3.5 million that advertisers are paying for 30 seconds during Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants often isn't worth the cost.

    "If your goal is to get your name out to your target audience, you can find that cheaper somewhere else," Wakefield said.

  • Michal Adam

    Yes, it's lame. No, Broderick doesn't look like that anymore (they must have died his hair and had him suck in his stomach).

  • Michael Simmons

    everything is done for a purpose, Grasshopper......

  • Alex Dorn

    Isn't the whole point of the commercial to be 'lame'? it's ferris Beullet selling what's essentially a minivan to Gen Xers that somehow once thought a vest over a t-shirt looked good? This reminds me of the frequently used "old people using youth lingo" device often used in advertising.

    • Bryan Riss

      Grandma says "Radical Dude"

  • Greg Terry

    Best response video possible -

  • Michael Lallemont

    Seriously you don't think they leaked this on purpose? Look how much coverage they're getting. And now everyone will want to watch it during the Super Bowl to see if it is the same.

  • Jack N Fran Farrell via Facebook

    I love Ferris, he reminds me of my brother Tom

  • Nick Pirce

    The commercial was originally supposed to be kept under wraps until game day, but Gawker Media’s car blog, Jalopnik, spoiled the surprise last Friday.

  • Brendan Spear via Facebook

    Love it

  • Richard Burckhardt via Facebook

    I think it's great!