Social Media Kicks Off Super Bowl Advertising Campaigns

The Super Bowl is right around the corner. A time when all of us, in the advertising industry or not, become critics of the 3 million dollar per 30-second commercial advertisements. This year, brands will be joining the digital age by going beyond the 30-second TV spot to include online features, social media and mobile. With Super Bowl XLV having more ads directing viewers online than ever before, marketers will turn to social media channels to measure their ROE (return on engagement) and extend the lifetime of their pricey commercials. 

There is no doubt that the Super Bowl is a huge draw for advertisers. It is the one day of the year where we don’t get up to use the restroom or grab a drink during the commercials. For some of us (myself included), the ads are just far more entertaining than football. And while viewership is said to be down over last year, the number of people who have said they intend to use their social sites to discuss and critique commercials has skyrocketed.

Social Media Advertising

Every ad that airs on Super Bowl Sunday will have a social media component — even if that just means the ads will be replayed on YouTube. Perhaps, last summer’s viral frenzy around the “Old Spice Man” videos was so crazy that it was forgotten that the campaign began with a Super Bowl ad. Or remember Google’s heartfelt ad, “Parisian Love”?  Did you know the video was already live on YouTube for three months before the Super Bowl debut?

Again this year several companies are looking to use social networks to create excitement around their ads before and after they air. For example, Budweiser has already reached out to fans pre-game by alluding to three of its Super Bowl commercials and allowed viewers to guess the storylines. If the storyline has been guessed correctly, the company will launch a fourth, Internet-only ad this Sunday. More clues to commercials are featured on their Facebook page. This campaign already has almost one million Facebook likes before the spot has even aired! 

Mercedes-Benz is another example of an advertiser that has jumped on this year’s social media bandwagon. The car-maker is advertising during the NFL’s championship game for the first time, and has plans to combine a Twitter contest with its campaign Mercedes-Benz is running what they call a “Tweet Race” where four teams will race to Dallas in a Mercedes, which are fueled by how many times fans tweet using the hashtag of their favorite racing team, while also entering for a chance to win a new C-Class Coupe.

“We’re using the 2011 Super Bowl as our head-long plunge into committing to social media,” says Stephen Cannon, Marketing Vice President at Mercedes-Benz. “It’s our strategic leap of faith.”

Social media helps Super Bowl advertisers capture more value beyond the standard 30 second commercial – which may justify the outrageous cost of the TV ad. With teaser campaigns, they can get a lot more for their money. In the examples mentioned, social media will allow these ads to take on a life of their own. Bud Light is looking to increase impact during and after the game, and Mercedes’ is hoping to do so before and during.

In conclusion, as brands look for ways to better integrate social media with traditional media, this year’s Super Bowl ad campaigns will serve as case studies in the making for how brands can capitalize on big moments. By using social media before, during and after the Super Bowl, big name brands are turning their 30 seconds of fame into real-time conversations that lead to deeper, longer-lasting brand engagements.

Do you think social media tie-ins make ad campaigns more entertaining?

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