News Update :

Social Media Lines Up for Super Bowl 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

For those of us who live our lives in the world of social media, this Super Bowl stat is astonishing: E-Trade was the only advertiser among the 2009 and 2010 Super Bowl rosters to even add a tease to its Facebook or Twitter presence at the close of the ad, according to a study by Professors Chuck Tomkovick and Rama Yelkur quoted in Ad Age. Not so this year; in that article on Monday Ad Age headlines, “From Hashtags to Newsfeeds to Online Spots, Big Game Advertisers Tap Web 2.0 to Extend Buy.” (See also the Super Bowl coverage on their sidebar.)

We all know what the marketing game is. A 30-second Super Bowl ad has hovered around $3m for the past several years. That’s a lot for even the usual suspects like Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, and Intel. The companies go all out to “create buzz,” with increasing intensity during this, the week before the big game. They prolong it as much as possible with post-game critiques that rival that of the sports programming itself. Getting the most mileage out of those expensive TV ads by leveraging other media made sense in years past. It still does; it’s just that social media has been added to the mix.
See the video here
According to Ad Age and this good video on CNBC, there will be more ties to social media this year. Pepsi is running its usual Doritos “Crash the SuperBowl” contest. Pepsi Max has purchased a spot, after a year off for cause-related marketing and joined in the “Crash” contest. They are joined by Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and even the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales and the ETrade baby. In reporting on this year’s advertising (with a good link to past ads), MSNBC says, “It’s a risky proposition for companies. A social media campaign has the potential to make your loyal customers even bigger fans, or draw in new customers. But companies also have to be prepared for the fact that they can’t control what people will write or tweet about them, positive or negative.” With due respect to MSNBC— big DUH!!! Any brand marketer who doesn’t already know that—and know how to deal with it—isn’t ready for the big leagues!

Coors Light is using mobile to hype its advertising using a Snap Tag on its in-store packaging. They’ve been testing this technology since spring and find it ready for the big game. It’s all about a mobile phone, a special icon, text messaging—and, of course, the ability to enter a contest and win a big prize. This article gives a good overview of how it works.

On the other hand, some brands are using the event to their advantage without actually buying an ad.

Papa John’s, who advertised last year, is taking a different approach this year. It’s giving away pizzas on game day. Of course, you have to register on their Facebook page to be eligible! But if what they told CNBC holds true and they spend about half a million dollars to put pizzas into 100,000 homes, is that a better expenditure than $3m for a TV ad? You call that one! And very important, how many fans will they add to the 1,501,026 they have now?

Bing is running a National Tailgating Championship that will culminate in Dallas this week. The first prize is “the coveted Golden Grill.” Oh, yeh? Actually, the whole thing is great fun with lots of snarky commentary like a set of contest guidelines (linked to the main contest site) full of legalese that essentially says that the judges will decide on the winner. Good for Microsoft and the Bing marketers for not taking themselves too seriously!

And most of all that master of Internet buzz The Old Spice Guy. He’s back and he’s watching the buzz about it on the web. One Super Fan will receive an early copy of the ad to be debuted the day after the Super Bowl. Oh, wow! That’s so delightfully arrogant that I’m watching for it. Stay tuned!

And I’m sure I’ve missed some other interesting or creative—or not—approaches. What else should we look for on Sunday?
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