Forget the Super Bowl: Head Straight to the Commercials

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YouTubeA Snickers Super Bowl ad substitutes Danny Trejo for "Marcia" of "The Brady Bunch."
Skipping the Super Bowl may seem un-American. But then, even with last year's massive average audience of 111.5 million, according to audience metrics company Nielsen, 65 percent of people in the U.S. choose to do something else.

Those who don't like football -- or maybe the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks draw their ire -- still might enjoy watching the commercials. As much an annual rite as the game, the Super Bowl commercials are the showcase for marketers who want to reach a massive audience and also prove how clever or funny they are. After all, come up with a killer ad, and a business captures media coverage and water cooler conversation for days, making the millions that companies spend on the spot look reasonable for the total amount of attention they get.

But how do you watch the commercials without sitting through every pass and punt? Luckily, you have a number of convenient options. Although some are after-the-game choices, they still free you up to watch this year's Puppy Bowl from Animal Planet.

Dish Network Lets You Automatically Skip the Play

TV distributors that provide ways to record programs and then automatically skip by the commercials have been the bane of marketers for years. Now Dish Network, in an attempt to reach an obvious audience of people who pass on football while trying to be a hero to advertisers, has turned the concept upside down in something it calls Reverse AutoHop. If you use Dish and have the PrimeTime Anywhere feature enabled for NBC before the game, you can record the whole event and, starting Monday, skip everything but the commercials.

Watch 15 Commercials Before the Game

Rolling Stone has collected 15 deliberately leaked Super Bowl commercials. You can see Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel from 1994 confused about the Internet in a BMW spot; several offerings, both sentimental and humorous, from Budweiser (BUD); Kim Kardashian in a T-Mobile (TMUS) ad; and various offerings from Lexus, Victoria's Secret (LB),, Dove, Mercedes-Benz, Kia, No More, Newcastle's threatened we're-going-to-feature-a-bunch-of-brands video, Eat24 and Carl's Jr.

And a Few More Pre-Game Features has its own set of leaked spots. You can get most of what Rolling Stone offers, plus an extended cut of the Carl's Jr. ad and others from Nationwide, Squarespace, WeatherTech, McDonald's (MCD), Friskies, a couple from Snickers (check the Brady Bunch one), Esurance with Lindsay Lohan, Toyota (TM), Mountain Dew, mophie, Pepsi (PEP), Sprint (S) and mobile game Heroes Charge.

Don't Forget the Movies

Upcoming films often use the Super Bowl as a massive launch platform. IGN has seven movie trailers that will wind up in between touchdowns and tackles.

Post-Game Roundup

The previews don't cover all the ads, according to the Advertising Age list of companies running spots. But a quick web search will show who has the whole list. IGN and Advertising Age are two likely sources, as are the major broadcast networks.

Lego Time

If all that isn't enough, you can tune in to the Brick Bowl. A+C Studios, an animation firm in the U.K., plans to "recreate some of the best of the halftime commercials as a stop-motion animated film, using thousands of Lego bricks, in less than 36 hours." This could be pretty amusing.
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