Super Bowl ads redefined with social-media play

You can imagine my delight (as I hope it is also yours) when I awoke to this story in my RSS feed this morning. The topic was one I knew would be fast on the heels of Sunday’s big game. But to see and hear the results was just perfect for where we need to be in our own efforts. I envision a time when we are running Miller-Motte and McCann and Berks and Tucson College commercials on the Internet almost exclusively.

The article itself is courtesy of USA Today and the clips courtesy of several ad firms.

Super Bowl ads used to be top secret until they aired in the game, but several top-rated commercials this year were shown first where consumers are spending increasing time: on social media.

Long before their ads were broadcast by Fox, advertisers VW, Doritos and Pepsi Max had strategically posted them on Facebook and YouTube — and had been tweeting about them like crazy. Their effective use of social media before the game for the commercials did not keep them from getting top marks in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter consumer ratings of Super Bowl spots as they air. And their success could quickly change the ad world’s long-held strategy of keeping Super Bowl ads under wraps until Super Sunday.

Some key evolving social-media strategies:

  • VW. What VW did with social media is being watched. Its best-liked ad — about a kid in a Darth Vader costume who thinks he “Force-fully” starts a Passat — was posted on social media five days before the game and had 13 million views by kickoff. VW marketing chief Tim Ellis decided early on to go wide on social media before the game. “I continued to hear that was the wrong way to go. But if you want to be part of the national discussion, you not only have to be on the Super Bowl, but you have to fully leverage social media.” VW closely monitored consumer response to its spot, which it posted on its blog, its YouTube channel and its Facebook page. It kept sending out messages on Facebook and Twitter. The ad got 40,000 views in its first few hours. Within 24 hours, it had 900,000. The 13 million by game time Sunday was 16 million 24 hours later. VW even showed more online — the ad posted was a 60-second spot, while its Super Bowl TV spot was only 30. “By the time the 30-second spot hit, people thought they were seeing the 60-second spot — and filling in the blanks,” Ellis says.
  • Doritos/Pepsi Max. In fall of 2006, Doritos was ahead of the curve when it posted a slew of consumer-made spots on its website for consumer voting that would send the top two “Crash the Super Bowl” spots to the 2007 Super Bowl. Doritos continued the annual competition, and the increasingly effective formula was adopted this year by fellow PepsiCo brand Pepsi Max. Doritos’ spots, though widely viewed on social media before the game, have finished in Ad Meter’s top five every year. Twice, they finished first. On Sunday night, Doritos and Pepsi had 3 million-plus video views between them, says Doritos spokesman Chris Kuechenmeister. The total number of ad views for the brands: up 93% this year. The brands aired a combined six consumer-made spots during the game. Each brand placed two spots in Ad Meter’s top 10. That included one Doritos spot — featuring a dog’s revenge for being teased with Doritos — that tied for first place. The brands are “rethinking” the Crash the Super Bowl promo for the 2012 game in a way that will involve more social media, says Rudy Wilson, marketing vice president at Frito-Lay.
  • Anheuser-Busch. Its Bud Light ad — about dogs catering a party — tied for first this year in Ad Meter. It was not seen until then, as usual, but A-B is considering posting some of its ads online before next year’s Super Bowl. “Honestly, we might,” says David Peacock, president. “You get too coy with your work and you can lose consumer interest. We’re learning from everyone else about the formulas that work.”


About andrewodom

Social Media Manager at Delta Career Education Corp.
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4 Responses to Super Bowl ads redefined with social-media play

  1. Jennie says:

    I’m not sure where everyone else’s area of expertise is but for me all this is just so new to be thinking about. I went to school to learn about how people look for and locate information and I’m finding that knowledge can be applied in a multitude of ways. I love that these huge ogranizations are using social media successfully. And I’m so excited about the opportunity I have with Delta (read Drew) and all of you to learn these great new skills that can be applied everywhere. I see our schools even having an extra advantage to these examples because not only do we provide a virtual environment for our students to engage, but we provide a physical environment too! It’s like taking a digital relationship and giving it steroids. Totally awesome!

    • Jennie says:

      By the way – that Vader commercial was outstanding!

    • andrewodom says:

      Thank you Jennie for the kind words. I truly appreciate it. Believe it or not I am learning as I go too. I mean, I came to this job with quite a bit of knowledge but I am learning even more as I try to understand how we can better use social media to attract students, retain students, and ultimately become a part of the lives of our students.

      I think what is important is that these key companies (VW specifically) found it more beneficial to launch the commercials and campaigns online before the Super Bowl in order to have a built in buzz by the time of the big game. What is also important to note is that they still found it wise to invest in more traditional forms of media (TV commercials).

      What this tells us is that our toolbox is more full than ever and no longer do we only have to think of the hammer. Now we have pliers and wrenches and other things to help us construct the ultimate DIY project, so to speak!

  2. Molly Margosian says:

    DIY project is right Drew! I loved the Vader commercial too, my sister emailed it to me (since she knows with two babies at home, I was not watching the superbowl – Blues Clues instead). As long as we, as active members of our Social Media Team, continue to follow the trends, adapt and contribute – our fanbase will continue to grow and thrive. It is a wonderful dream to imagine a time when we are running Miller-Motte and McCann and Berks and Tucson College commercials on the Internet almost exclusively – hang on to that dream Drew. The more effort we put in the greater our results. Every little bit helps in the long run. I anticipate greater growth from Charleston after our conference call at the end of the month. TTFN 🙂

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