Increasingly, marketers are realizing that the battle for attention during and after the Super Bowl is won or lost before the game starts, and that the battle takes place online. The volume of online discussions about Super Bowl TV spots was 9% higher in 2011 than it was in 2010. Marketers employed a number of tactics to build buzz leading up to the game and creativity was key to their success.
Mercedes grabbed attention with a “Twitter-fueled Race”, wherein four two-person teams faced off in a cross-country race for a 2012 C-Class Coupe. The winner was determined by which team garnered the most tweets and Facebook likes, as those social media interactions allowed them to drive faster. The race ended on February 4, two days before the big game, and was designed to generate interest in the TV spot that ran during the game.
One of the most well-liked ads of the game, Volkswagen’s “The Force”, was released four days before the Super Bowl and had this Trendspotter directing everyone’s attention to the TV when the ad aired during the game. The gambit appears to have paid off. The spot received more votes than any other in the Hulu Adzone Super Bowl rankings.
Doritos released ads from the ten finalists in their now-traditional consumer-generated-ad contest three days before the game and ended up garnering 80,000 tweets on Sunday night, more than any other brand.
20th Century Fox partnered with mobile game developer Rovio to run a promotion that offered a special level for the popular “Angry Birds” game to viewers of an ad for Fox’s upcoming animated film “Rio”. The two companies got the word out about the promotion in order to incent viewers to pay special attention to the ad.
Network Solutions created a digital campaign that completely bypassed television by parodying Go Daddy’s ads, posting the clip online, and orchestrating three Twitter Takeovers leading up to the game. This campaign demonstrates the limitations of an approach that skips TV, as the video has received less than 60,000 views on YouTube.
The digital realm offers advertisers an opportunity to optimize the hefty investment they make in television advertising around the Super Bowl. Creative executions and the lure of incentives can build buzz that will boost viewership and online chatter when the most expensive ads on earth are being beamed into bars and living rooms around the world.
Greg Steen, 02.10.2011