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How to watch the Super Bowl ads

- February 5th, 2012

Honda's Super Bowl commercial has already racked up more than 11 million views online. Save Ferris!

There are a lot of great things about being Canadian. We’ve got universal health care, other countries tend to like us, we know the right way to spell “colour” and “neighbour”, easy access to poutine and good beer… the list goes on.

But every year when the Super Bowl rolls around, we’re reminded of one of the downsides of living in this great nation: We don’t get to watch the good commercials.

With airtime for the game selling for as much as $4 million US per 30-second spot, advertisers naturally bring out their big guns. Supermodels, special effects, celebrities, monkeys, laughs, tears… if only the Super Bowl itself could be this entertaining.

Problem is, even if you watch the game on a U.S. station, the feed will be subbed out for CTV’s own. Which means you’re getting commercials localized for our maple syrup-lovin’ market. Hey, did you know American Idol is on CTV? After the 15th promo spot airs during the game, you sure as heck will.

If you absolutely must see the Super Bowl commercials that our American cousins will enjoy today, here are some tech-savvy strategies that might help. None of which requires leaving the country. Whew!

Watch them now

Dozens of advertisers have already released their Super Bowl commercials online to capitalize on advance buzz, or to feature extended versions that won’t be aired on TV. (Honda’s salute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the most-watched so far, with more than 11 million views.) They’re a bit scattered across the web, but you can find most of them at Adweek’s Super Bowl hub, or our own Canoe.ca.

Stream the game

This will be the first year the Super Bowl is streamed live online, through NBC Sports and some mobile phone providers. The catch is we’re not sure if they’ll be showing the TV commercials in the online stream (and the NBC online broadcast might be unavailable in Canada anyway.) While the U.S. Attorney General recently shut down a bunch of illegal sports streaming sites, user-driven video sharing websites such as Justin.tv and Ustream.tv will almost certainly do an end run around the law and have live streams from U.S. networks – including the commercials.

Get an antenna

If you live close enough to the U.S. border, you might be able to use an HDTV antenna to pick up a signal from an NBC station in the States, which will naturally feature the full roster of American commercials. As an added bonus, these over-the-air signals are in crystal clear, uncompressed (or at least less-compressed) high-definition. There are tons of antenna retailers out there, but Xtek.ca has a good selection of gear, as well as primers on how to set it all up. Of course if you don’t have one already, this might have to wait until next year’s Super Bowl. Not even FedEx does same-afternoon delivery.

Wait a little while

While some advertisers won’t reveal their commercials before the game, they invariably put them online moments after the ads air on TV. YouTube’s AdBlitz channel will round up all the commercials after the game is over, and there are even iPhone apps – like the $1.99 Super Ads app – that are updated with new commercials as soon as the ads hit the web. This means you can actually use the commercial breaks during the game for more important things, like fetching beer and going to the bathroom. These truly are enlightened times we live in.

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2 comments

  1. Russell Rose | February 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Great info.

  2. Father Larry Winslow | February 12, 2012 at 8:19 am

    This is an age old bug-a-boo with me. I find it atrocious that the Canadian Channels are allowed to use an American program and then hijack the advertising time for the Mickey Mouse junk that we see up here – all in the name of Canadian content! It is time we got rid of the watchdogs that tell us they know better than we do what we should be watching on TV.

    For the first time in a long time, I watched the whole Super Bowl Game this year and really enjoyed the American Commercials. Oh, I am in Texas for the winter where our grocery bill is 50% – 60% of what it is in Canada, a dinner out is about 50% of what it is in Canada, and a box of wine (the same one sold in Ontario for around $34) costs only $12. I love Canada but cannot stand the Canadian rip-off mentality!

    Can we say we are tired of being raped by the Canadian Nanny Culture?

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