BOSTON (CBS) – You can’t have the Super Bowl without the commercials and, once again, corporate America is investing millions of dollars to capture 30 seconds of your attention.

So why do so many companies now release their ads before the game?

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“On one level that seems counterintuitive. Isn’t the whole point that you’re surprised and you’re all talking about it. You’re seeing the stuff for the first time. And that’s true,” Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

“But now, there is so much more economic efficiency in putting these ads up, which means you can often have tens of millions of people have seen an ad before you even get to the Super Bowl itself. Then it plays on the Super Bowl to 110 million people and then a bunch of people see it on the “best of” collections on the internet and they pass them around afterwards,” he said.

“If you’re going to be paying $4.5 million per 30-second ad, I think the idea was you needed that ad to get a lot of bang.”

However, Thompson said the ads should not be confused with high art.

“You know we’ve been convinced they’re going to be the greatest thing in the world and if you ever watch them, like the Wednesday after Super Bowl Sunday, if you watch all the Super Bowl ads in a row, in the cold light of day, without your friends, without (being) full of beer, you think to yourself – what was all the fuss about?”

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Here are some of the Super Bowl ads already available online:



Listen: Thompson talks to WBZ’s Joe Mathieu

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