Face painting, jersey wearing, team flag waving fans across the country gather today to watch the field turf competition of the year.  Not just any average sporting event; Nielson reports that 2011 Super Bowl attracted the most viewers in television history at 111 million.  2010’s showdown comes in second at 106.5 million.  Will 2012 continue the trend?

Advertisers think so and this year, watch for a brave new world of interaction from the top brands.  The ads, once kept under tight wraps until game day have been hitting YouTube over the few past weeks.  Over 11 million people have already viewed the new Honda CR-V Ferris Bueller resurrection ad.

The phenomenon of the “second screen,” which is being pushed hard, is this year’s advertising game changer.  Nielsen estimates almost 70% of smartphone and tablet users text or post on Twitter while watching TV.  Capturing these active users on what may be the most watched show in history is just plain great advertising.  There are new interactive apps from many brands and most of the ads you see today will encourage you to engage socially on Twitter or Facebook for a chance to win ‘stuff,’ be entertained by polar bear’s live reactions to plays or weigh in on the game.  Watch for the square barcodes on this year’s spots to take you to the brand’s funness.

When you spend $3.5 million dollars for a :30, smart advertisers will be doing much, much more than just airing television spots.

The lesson for locals?  Watch the ways big agencies are drawing in fans for more of an experience with a brand.  So much opportunity with new technology.

Be open to it in 2012.  Enjoy the game!