As the expected 110 million Super Bowl XLV spectators sit down to watch the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, the experience will be consumed in a more interactive and social manner than in years past.
According to a recent survey commissioned by E*Trade, 47% of American consumers that plan to watch the Super Bowl expect to communicate via social media or text during the game. Of those spectators, 63% say they will use Facebook and 8% will use Twitter while 29% plan to comment on the advertising. Another recent survey, this one from Lightspeed Research, estimates that nearly two-thirds of Super Bowl viewers aged 18 to 34 will multi-task with their smartphone. 32% of those smartphone users plan to post comments about the Big Game on a social network.
With so much social media and mobile phone usage during the Big Game, what are companies doing to enhance viewer experience? Equally as important, what are some of the world’s largest brands doing to engage their consumers and generate added awareness or interest in their products prior to February 6?
Several high profile sponsors have already committed to innovative social media campaigns leading up to Super Bowl XLV. In fact, several brands including Denny’s, Dr. Pepper, Intel, Monster, and Universal Orlando will not return as Super Bowl TV advertisers. It’s tough to argue with these brands when one 30 second spot costs $3 million (that’s $100,000 per second!), especially when research shows repetition is the foundation of consumer memory.
Viewing only one commercial has limited effect on long-term memory, and isn’t that what brands want—a repeat customer? Even though these spots will gain millions of additional views on YouTube alone, the effectiveness of Super Bowl commercials increases dramatically when reinforced with other media and activation. That’s what the following companies are hoping for anyways with their social media campaigns and strategies (you’re going to notice more than a few car companies … 5 in fact):
First-time Super Bowl advertiser, Mercedes-Benz, has launched a consumer interactive competition via social media where four two-person teams (comprised of consumers) are racing to Dallas from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Tampa in custom-outfitted Mercedes cars in “The World’s First Twitter-Fueled Race.” Each team vehicle is ‘fueled’ by tweets from their followers and given extra horsepower from their Twitter-savvy celebrity team coaches which include Serena Williams, Pete Wentz, Nick Swisher, and Rev Run.
Along the way, each team can choose to complete a series of different challenges related to the cities they pass through. For example, if a team snaps a photo of a local high school, college, or pro-football stadium and tweets it, they receive 50 bonus points each. The team that reaches the finish line with the highest total score is declared the winner with each member receiving a 2012 C-Klasse Coupe.
Any Mercedes consumer who joins the winning team before the competition started on Feb. 2 is eligible to win a trip for two to a Mercedes-Benz sponsored event of your choice: the 2011 US Open, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September 2011, or the 2011 PGA Championship. In addition, at the end of the race, if any teams or Race Directors select you among the 20 MVT (Most Valuable Tweeters) who provided the most plentiful, premium and timely Tweets, you’ll take home an exclusive Mercedes-Benz luggage set.
In exchange for the help of the celebrity coaches, Mercedes-Benz USA is donating $25K to each Team Coach’s charity of choice — and another $20K to the charity of the coach whose team wins. The charity component is always an added incentive for consumers to participate.
This campaign is both interesting and extremely innovative. It really has it all. Twitter, Facebook, microsite, celebrities, and direct consumer involvement in the contest and with social media. We applaud Mercedes-Benz USA for thinking so creatively and pushing the boundaries of Twitter through a real world application of Twitter, which activates the Mercedes-Benz brand all across the country. Providing consumers incentive to tweet about your brand in the quantity that Mercedes has achieved is a win. Hurry and check out the race to Dallas. It ends today!
Anheuser-Busch, a company quite familiar with Super Bowl advertising, has created the “Unlock the Spot“ campaign for Bud Light where Facebook fans are invited to guess what the Big Game commercials will be about based on still images. Once all three spots have been correctly identified, a new secret commercial will be “unlocked.” If users cannot correctly guess all three spots, then they are not able to view the fourth commercial.
The Activ8Social team really likes this campaign from the marketing folks of one of America’s most famous beers because we think it meets the brand’s objective of driving new fans on their Facebook Page by leveraging budget already spent on traditional media with new media.
Bud Light’s commercials often vie for the most humorous on Super Bowl Sunday. What this campaign does is get consumers excited and already talking about the multi-million ads they will tune in to watch on February 6th, but it also gives them a real reason to have to be a member of the brand’s Facebook community. Real fanatics of the beer or the commercials will opt-in for this campaign. We know that the secret commercial might pop-up somewhere for everybody to view, but nonetheless, it still works.
Frito-Lay and Pepsi Max
Frito-Lay expanded its “Crash the Super Bowl“ campaign this year, inviting consumers to submit their own commercial for Doritos or new partner in the campaign, Pepsi Max. Fans are asked to vote for their favorite user-generated ads, and the top three commercials for both products will be aired during the Super Bowl. This is a huge opportunity for the winners. Getting their ad in front the world’s largest TV audience will likely give them a shot at a career in the ad industry.
What’s also pretty cool about this campaign is that nearly all the functionality from the Crash the Super Bowl microsite is integrated into the Doritos Facebook Page including watching all six commercials and voting. Providing consumers the choice of interacting with the promotion on a website or social media channel is a smart decision for max reach (no pun intended).
Partnering with Pepsi is also another smart move by Doritos. Pepsi’s brand has a deep social footprint including over 3.2 million fans on Facebook as well as consumers who are used to interacting with their brand via social media. Pepsi is of course a trend setter when it comes to cause marketing and social media as a result of the much talked about Pepsi Refresh Project which has donated over $20 million to date for community grants.
Audi is claiming a first in Super Bowl advertising: the inclusion of a Twitter hashtag, “#ProgressIs,” at the end of its 60-second TV spot during the game in hopes to ignite conversation around what progressive luxury is. Viewers who tweet the hashtag and the URL audi.us/ProgressIs will be entered to win a grand prize trip to Sonoma, California for a test drive of the Audi R8 supercar later this month and $25,000 will be awarded to a charity on their behalf.
In addition to the Twitter promotion, Audi will also launch a Facebook program called The Estate Sale. Audi’s Facebook experience invites fans, starting on Super Bowl Sunday, to tag old luxury items found in Audi’s “Release the Hounds” commercial airing during the game. Everyone who completes the experience is entered to win a grand prize trip to the Audi Sportscar Experience in Sonoma, California.
Both of Audi’s social media initiatives on Facebook and Twitter are focused on translating eyeballs from their Super Bowl Sunday commercial into post game momentum rather than focusing on the runway leading up to the Big Game.
Porsche Cars USA is launching a social media game for everyone in Dallas during Super Bowl weekend (February 3-6). If someone spots a Porsche, they are encouraged to update the location of the mechanical beauty on Foursquare along with a photo using the hashtag “#Porsche.” The best photos will be featured in “Porsche spotting at the big game” gallery on Facebook.
The luxury car manufacturer is also making a bunch of Porsche cars available around the Dallas-Fort Worth area to test drive over Super Bowl weekend.
German automaker Volkswagen (whose current tag line you make recognize as Das Auto.) returned to Super Bowl advertising in 2010 after a nine-year hiatus from the Big Game. According to Volkswagen of America’s VP of Marketing Tim Ellis, the brand discovered that 1 million people watched their ad online after last year’s game; of those, 850,000 viewed the 2010 commercial on YouTube. So what’s the strategy in 2011?
The company’s first move is pre-releasing their 2011 commercial, entitled “The Force” prior to Super Bowl Sunday. Earlier today, Volkswagen started promoting the commercial, which centers around a little kid and his obsession with the epic film series Star Wars, with ads on YouTube search. If you haven’t already, go ahead and watch the commercial above.
Volkswagen is also launching a YouTube “takeover” the day after the Big Game on February 7th. According to AdAge, the company is also doing a takeover of ESPN’s mobile site during the game in order to have added reach to the campaign.
Kia is using a mix of 15-second TV spots, digital, print, social media and in-dealership components in its interactive marketing campaign, “One Epic Contest“. The contest runs February 1 – 6 and features five challenging questions on the campaign’s microsite with the final question being revealed during Kia’s “One Epic Ride” commercial in the first quarter of the Super Bowl. Clues will be provided in pre-Super Bowl and game day advertisements as well as social media postings. The first five contestants to answer all of the questions correctly before the contest ends will be awarded a 2011 Kia Optima.
Papa John’s, an official sponsor of both Super Bowl XLV and the NFL, in a surprising move decided not to advertise during the game this year. Instead it will give away a free large pizza to every American, who registers for Papa’s Points, if the Super Bowl goes into its first ever overtime.
Papa John’s marketing chief, Andrew Varga, had this to say:
We’d rather give away millions in free pizzas than spend millions on a spot
Customers can also register for the 45-Second Giveaway on www.papajohns.com. Every 45 seconds, between 10 a.m. to 9:59 p.m. ET on Super Bowl Sunday, a $45 Papa John’s gift card will be given away. Papa John’s is also offering $10 large pizzas through Super Bowl XLV.
While this is a not social media driven promotion, but instead an informational posting on Facebook about their pizza giveaway, we applaud Papa John’s for at least leveraging their 1.5 million fans to spread the word. Believe or not, some brands miss that mark. However, the Activ8Social team does think this was a bit of a missed opportunity for Papa to build his company’s social media following. The goal here is clearly mass reach, but what about adding a Facebook/Twitter only component to the giveaway like free wings or drinks?
Many of these campaigns are generating a large amount of buzz in the online community as they spend larger budgets on social media marketing campaigns which engage consumers in a new medium that gives the viewer an active, participatory role. For some, the hope is that the mixture of advertising alongside a social media component will drive additional consumer conversation online long after the 30-second commercial slot adding more value to the bottom line.