Super Bowl Ads Engage Social Media to Extend Their 30 Seconds

Feb 08 2011

With a viewership of over 100 million, the Super Bowl represents destination television at its best. Recognizing the event as a once-in-a-year opportunity to show us their best, smart brands have leveraged social media to pique viewer interest before The Big Game even kicks off and to retain it long after the big play at the end, optimizing the amortization of their $2.5+ million 30-second spot.

How did brands leverage social media for Super Bowl XLV?

  • 33 brands opted to let you preview their ads well in advance of the big show. VW posted their ad on Wednesday.
  • From Foursquare to Flipboard, dozens of companies customized apps/websites, making it easier for their customers to engage.
  • Mercedes linked their promotion to both Facebook and Twitter: gain followers on Twitter and jump through other social media hoops for a chance to win a new C-Class Coupe.
  • Bud Light expanded their reach to Facebook: they challenged customers to guess the storylines of their ads from photos posted to their Facebook page. If you guess correctly, they’ll “unlock” another ad.
  • Audi aired a commercial in the first quarter sporting their very own Twitter hashtag, #ProgressIs. Viewers were encouraged to use the hashtag and the Audi URL for a chance to test drive their new super car.
  • KIA will give away five 2011 Optimas after offering contest clues on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The trailer for Rio contained a secret hidden code for players of Angry Birds which leads the way to a secret board which in turn takes players to a chance to enter a contest that can nab them a trip to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the premiere of Rio on March 22.
  • Papa John’s sponsored a campaign that promised free pizza to viewers who registered on its website if the game went into overtime.
  • Volkswagen debuted take-over ads on YouTube the day after the Super Bowl.

How successful were they? There are a lot of key performance indicators to measure and it’s still too soon to tell since some of the campaigns are ongoing. Brand Bowl, a leaderboard of top Super Bowl commercials calculated by reactions posted on Twitter, scored 302,977 tweets, based on number of tweets and sentiment, and came up with the following recap:

Overall Winner: Chrysler with a score of 90

Most Talked About: Doritos with a score based on sheer number of tweets

Most Loved: VW based on their sentiment percentage

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