By Mike Mulvihill
As a marketer and consumer, I eagerly await the bevy advertising’s best spots that launch during the Super Bowl each year. While I don’t always have much interest in the game (alas, I am a Jets fan so it has been a while since I’ve had a dog in this fight), the hype around the new spots appearing in the richest time slot of the year (estimated at $3.5 million for a 30-second spot this year to reach an audience of more than 100 million) never fails to deliver.
Apparently, the Super Bowl delivers for marketers by driving social media activity according to a report by Zeta Interactive. Each year Zeta studies which ad campaigns created the most online buzz as measured by the number of online posts and the tonality. In 2011, eight of the top ten campaigns were launched during the Super Bowl. The list included notable Super Bowl advertisers such as E*Trade, Snickers, Chrysler, Bud Light, Cars.com and Volkswagen.
While Indianapolis is manning-up to manage the throng of fans for the Feb. 5 game (a sporting event local fans well-deserve after enduring the Colts hapless season), marketers have been working for months snatching up time, which has been sold out since before Thanksgiving, and producing new creative. This year’s line-up will be heavily dominated by the usual suspects (six car brands, Coke, Pepsi, Doritos, GoDaddy, etc.) Two first-timers will join the fray, Century 21 and Yogurt giant Dannon, which will be the first yogurt maker to appear during the Super Bowl.
As has been the case for the past few years, all these marketers are increasingly using social media to leverage their ad buy into a more complete campaign that has legs before and after the Super Bowl. For instance, Chevy has been ramping up to the Super bowl by giving consumers a chance to pick the spot that runs during the game and a chance to win $10,000. Called Chevrolet Route 66, it features more than 190 films from filmmakers in 32 countries have been submitted for the chance to have their effort aired during the 2012 Super Bowl.
In some cases, campaigns can be effective, albeit on a less grand scale, with no Super Bowl spots. Last year, our agency produced a Super Bowl campaign for domain name and Web services client Network Solutions that by-passed an ad buy completely and leveraged only viral video and social media, The campaign generated nearly 100,000 video views, 20 million Twitter impressions and 50 million top-tier media impressions resulting in .CO domain sales increasing by more than 500 percent during Super Bowl weekend.
So, regardless of your budget, the Super Bowl is a proven “flash point” to grab consumer attention for products and services. Like the NFL teams that battle on Feb. 5, marketers have been working hard all year to prepare for the ultimate event of the season. Sit back and sip on a beverage, sample the neighbor’s guacamole recipe, and enjoy. Whether or not the game is competitive, the battle of the marketers is sure to entertain.