Hey Canada, you don’t need Jimmy Fallon to create a great Super Bowl ad

—Canadian brands may lack big budgets, but with some creative thinking, they can win during Super Bowl season, when people want to see their ads, says Peter Ignazi—

The Super Bowl took place this Sunday on your television. There was a time the Super Bowl ad “experience” took place on that same evening on that same screen. And you basically waited till that time to see both.

That, of course, is not the case anymore. The Super Bowl still takes place at the same time and roughly the same place—very few people are watching the game on a device. But the Super Bowl ads come out way before.

There are basically two or three weeks where Super Bowl ads are being released. It’s pretty much a Super Bowl ad season now—more like Christmas.

And since most of these ads have nothing to do with football, the only thing that makes them “superbowly” is the press release that comes with them. That creates an interesting situation for Canadian advertisers.

For years, people in this country complained that they didn’t get to see the American or “real” Super Bowl ads because of what the TV industry calls “simsub.” I could Google its meaning but I’m gonna guess it means “simultaneous substitution.” The point is, you can sit in Halifax and watch the American network coverage of the game, but as soon as the commercial break comes on, instead of seeing a $3 million Budweiser ad, you’re seeing a $50,000 Cora’s ad.

Then all of a sudden the law changed and Canadians saw those glorious American ads. Until December, when all of a sudden, it changed again, with the Supreme Court of Canada overturning this ruling. And now we’re back to ads for snow tire sales. Does it really matter? Oh I don’t know… it only went to the Supreme Court of Canada! People obviously care a lot about this.

So why aren’t Canadian advertisers taking advantage of this? Why are they, to use a sports analogy, sitting on the sidelines when, for a brief, miraculous couple of weeks, people don’t hate advertising?

And granted, brands didn’t have a lot of time with the change being announced this past December. But we—with the exception of the excellent Budweiser “Whassup Again” for a digital age ad—did almost nothing special for people who are looking for it. Asking for it.

It doesn’t have to be about budgets. We know we can’t afford Jimmy Fallon and John Cena. But we can do it with something that we have in abundance: Creativity.

Next year, let’s push ourselves and our agencies to do something special and hop on the tidal wave of press and beautiful social amplification.

This is a magical season. But like most seasons, it comes to an end. And next week, people will go back to hating advertising again.

Peter Ignazi is the global chief creative officer for Cossette.