January 30, 2012
Advertisers Set For Super Bowl Sunday Social Media Showdown
On the field, Super Bowl XLVI will pit the New England Patriots against the New York Giants, but the National Football League championship will also feature a heated online battle between rival companies, advertising experts are predicting.
According to MSNBC.com's Martha C. White, "Analysts say this year is a turning point for social media's incorporation into the biggest mass-media event of the year, and advertisers are taking note."
"The trend in social media with the Super Bowl has been building over the past two or three years," Northwestern University Marketing Professor Tim Calkins added. "This year, we're really seeing it go to a totally new level where marketers are making social networking a core part of their Super Bowl efforts."
Both White and Yinka Adegoke of Reuters report that companies are looking to create buzz for their ads, and their products, in advance of the February 5 title game, which will be held in Indianapolis. According to Adegoke, an expected 100 million people will tune in for the contest, and 30-second commercials time slots during the broadcast are selling for an average of $3.5 million -- an increase of $500,000 from 2011.
In light of such an investment, companies are searching for creative ways to promote the ads before they air, as well as to keep users glued to the television set when touchdown passes aren't being thrown or quarterbacks sacked.
One example, White says, involves a teaser clip posted to YouTube by automotive manufacturer Volkswagen. That minute-long clip features a chorus of dogs barking a tune featured in the "Star Wars" movies.
Likewise, the company's Audi division will be featuring an ad that will not only look to capitalize on the popularity of vampires (such as those featured in the "Twilight" series of books and movies), but will also feature a special Twitter hashtag (#SoLongVampires) in an attempt to get people tweeting about the commercial, Reuters reported.
Adegoke also wrote that soft drink makers Coca-Cola and Pepsi are seeking to utilize social networking in their Super Bowl ads. Coke will feature its trademark polar bear characters on Twitter and Facebook, complete with their own unique hashtag (#GameDayPolarBears). Pepsi, on the other hand, will be providing free video downloads for those who record a performance of the song "Respect" using the Shazam application.
"With the conventional wisdom being that consumers are more likely to make a purchase if recommended by a friend or family member, chief marketing officers are keen to insert themselves in a Facebook or Twitter conversation about the products and services they sell," the Reuters reporter said.
"Advertisers don't think about the TV campaign alone anymore but as a way to reach eyeballs and then stimulate conversations about their brands," added Tom Thai, an executive with Bluefin Labs, a company that Adegoke said has been retained by several advertising agencies in order to analyze user reaction to their Super Bowl commercials on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
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