In the age of Twitter and Facebook, many Super Bowl viewers will use the commercial breaks to go online and see what people are saying about the game. This year, advertisers want them to Tweet about their favorite commercials as well.
Having spent record-breaking sums to secure the most valuable television slots in advertising, global brands from Coca-Cola to Volkswagen are looking to leverage social media to extend the buzz and reach of their ads.
Honda, HM and Dannon are among the advertisers also using star power to help their brands stand out.
Honda has already generated buzz for its ad featuring Matthew Broderick as his iconic 80’s character Ferris Bueller.
HM has launched a new advertising campaign with sports star David Beckham and actor John Stamos has teamed up with Dannon.
Brian Steinberg, Television Editor at Advertising Age, said the Super Bowl is one of the few places where advertisers have a large, attentive audience.
“There is no other way on TV or in any other media outlet to get that many people watching at one fell swoop who not only are there for the event, but are there for the commercials too,” said Steinberg.
According to executives from Comcast Corp’s NBC television network, which will broadcast the February 5 football game, a 30-second commercial slot cost $3.5 million (USD) on average this year, up from $3 million for last year’s Super Bowl, which was on News Corp’s Fox station.
The game, including lower priced half-time slots, could easily generate over a quarter of a billion dollars in ad sales.
Consumer research forecasts that 60 percent of fans watching the Super Bowl will also be tied into a second screen such as a smartphone or tablet.
Not unlike past Super Bowls, Coca Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. will face-off for soda supremacy. Both beverage makers have come up with campaigns that attempt to leverage social media after their commercials air.
Coca-Cola’s TV commercials, which will air during the first-and second-quarter breaks, will center around its computer-generated Arctic polar bears watching the game. The bears will then be brought to life on Twitter, Facebook and on a dedicated website doing such things as responding to fans and commenting on the game. They will even have their own Twitter hashtag — #GameDayPolarBears — for fans to follow.
“The bears are going to be there commenting on the game and the commercials themselves all game long. It’s kind of a sideline event. So that will be kind of interesting to watch how that progresses. Will the bears make fun of Pepsi?” Steinberg mused.
Fans who catch Pepsi’s commercial with “X Factor USA” winner Melanie Amaro performing the Otis Redding song “Respect” will be able to download a free video of the performance by using the Shazam app on their phones to capture audio from the commercial.
There are also partnerships with online radio service Pandora Media Inc. and social TV specialist GetGlue, centered around the game and other free content.
The biggest spender by category is the autos industry, which made a big comeback last year and was noted for one of the most memorable spots — Volkswagen AG’s ad with a young child dressed in a Darth Vader outfit believing he can control the Passat car’s lights.
This year, Volkswagen’s Audi is hoping to win more creative kudos with a spot that taps into the “Twilight” teen vampire pop culture phenomenon. The 60-second spot, which will air during the first break in the game, will highlight the new 2013 Audi S7 and its LED headlight technology, which has unfortunate consequences for a party of young vampires. Audi hopes to continue the conversation about the ad via the Twitter hashtag #SoLongVampires.
The push to use social media has prompted some companies to release their commercials before Sunday’s game in an effort to generate consumer buzz.
“In years past, these were all top secret, hush hush events. No one wanted their ads to be seen before the game,” said Steinberg. ” But now I think people’s attentions are fractured, people are on their tablets, and they’re reading updates from e-mail alerts, that kind of thing. Why not put it out early, get people excited about seeing the individual ad, not just all the ads, and then talk about it as they tweet and post and kind of go back and forth all day long,” he added.
Volkswagen, which generated buzz with its pre-released Darth Vader ad last year, will reprise Darth Vader in a new role.
Speaking about its new commercial, Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said social media has become essential to the company’s advertising campaign.
“With the advertising slots on the game itself being so expensive, it’s really important to leverage that presence and social media and viral growth around those activities is a very good way to leverage that investment. And so we launched a teaser last week that has had over ten million views on the internet,” said Browning.
General Motors Co’s mainstream Chevy brand will run seven TV commercials before, during and after the game, for instance. It will also center its overall campaign heavily around Web-based partnerships with NBC, Twitter and Facebook.
Frito Lay returns to the game with its Crash the Super Bowl contest, where consumers create their own commercials for their Doritos brand.
Five ads will be aired during the game. The creator of the commercial that generates the most buzz, as measured by USA TODAY Ad Meter or USA TODAY Facebook Super Bowl Ad Meter, wins a $1 million (USD) cash prize.
Ann Mukherjee, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Frito Lay, North America said the consumer ads are part of their long-term marketing campaign.
“We actually take the best of the best and we actually air them as our advertising throughout the entire year. So it starts at Super Bowl, but it continues throughout the rest of the year,” she said.
With the conventional wisdom being that consumers are more likely to make a purchase if recommended by a friend or family member, executives are keen to insert themselves in a Facebook or Twitter conversation about the products and services they sell.
“They are putting too much money into these things to allow just the ad to carry the day. They want people buzzing about it beforehand, they want to clock YouTube views, they want to see who goes to the website during the game and after the game. They want to see how many Facebook posts they get. They are really monitoring everything now. It’s not just the game itself, but the conversation around the game,” added Steinberg.
Anheuser-Busch, MMs, and Kia are all among the advertisers to release ads on television and online in an effort to build buzz before the game.
This year’s Super Bowl will take place in Indianapolis, with the New York Giants and New England Patriots battling it out for the National Football League Championship. An expected 100 million people will watch the game.
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