A Super Social Super Bowl

By Michele Weisman The Super Bowl is the most-viewed event on U.S. television. 106 million viewers are predicted to tune in for the Super Bowl XLV, on Sunday February 6th at Cowboys Stadium in Texas. The 48 minutes of traditional commercials are as much anticipated as the final score. 30-second TV spots, costing $3 million each, sold out three months before the game.

The uniqueness of live sporting events represents a marketer’s dream. Sports viewers are less likely to record a live sporting event and fast-forward through commercials. The 2011 ad lineup includes Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo's Frito Lay, GoDaddy.com, Pizza Hut, E-Trade, Groupon, and Volkswagen. These brands are looking to attract additional eyeballs by promoting their campaigns on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Pre and post Super Bowl buzz is no longer limited to the television broadcast. Advertisers now have the perfect opportunity to create fan engagement in an almost limitless social space.

1. #SB45 @steelers vs @packers. According to Twitter, about 33% of the players who were in the NFL playoffs are on Twitter. During last Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games, virtually all trending topics were related to football. Last week, Twitter announced a unique partnership between Visa and the NFL. Twitter is aggregating all chatter surrounding the Super Bowl in real-time. This “one-stop shop” allows football fans to “Go Inside Super Bowl XLV With Visa.” Users can now experience Super Bowl XLV before and during the game. Features include interesting tweets from players, media, NFL personnel, fans and more. Additionally, @VisaNFL will run a supporting campaign on Twitter with promoted trending topics to generate awareness. Visa card holders also have the chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl, starting next year, for life.

2. The World's First Twitter-Fueled Race. It should come as no surprise that car ads have long been a staple of the Super Bowl. At least eight different auto manufacturers have purchased airtime. However, Mercedes-Benz is raising the ante. The manufacturer will promote their 2012 C-Class series through a 60-second spot in the fourth quarter with a social media twist. Dubbed as “The World’s First Twitter-Fueled Race”, teams of two, pre-selected by organically creating the highest number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes, will drive to Super Bowl XLV in limited edition Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The winning team will receive a Mercedes Benz 2012 C-Class Coupe. Fans who support the winning team will also be entered to win a trip for two to a Mercedes-Benz sponsored event of their choice. The race begins on February 2nd. Follow Mercedes-Benz on Twitter and Facebook to pariticipate.

3. Unlock the Spot. Last week, Bud Light invited its Facebook fans to guess the storylines to each of its three Super Bowl ads via an app called “Unlock the Spot.” If the user correctly guesses all three spots, Bud Light will reveal a fourth Internet-only ad exclusively to its fans. Each year, Super Bowl advertising seems to get more social, and Anheuser-Busch is no stranger to this concept. Last year, Budweiser urged its fans to vote for one of its three Super Bowl ads via Facebook. Super Bowl ads are cultivating more press and engagement than ever before, even though the game has yet to air. However the risk is the novelty of being surprised and watching the ads on game day.

4. "Crash the Super Bowl" with your favorite snacks. Sports fans represent a growing yet captive audience. Doritos and Pepsi Max invites its fans to “Crash the Super Bowl” by creating a 30 second commercial for the year’s most heavily televised event. As of yesterday, the voting period has ended. The four spots with the most votes, along with two chosen by Doritos and Pepsi Max executives, will air during the Super Bowl. The final prizes will be determined by how well these ads perform against USA Today‘s Ad Meter. Additionally, Pepsi Max is running a Twitter promotion. Ten lucky fans will receive cases of Pepsi Max for their Super Bowl parties! Next time you are at the store looking for Pepsi Max, be sure to keep an eye out for their new bottle.

What are your favorite Super Bowl social media promotions? Is it a good way to engage fans or does revealing bits and pieces devalue the game-day excitement?

I posted a question on Quora to receive advice and opinions from others. If you’d like to continue the conversation, feel free to share your thoughts. If you would like to follow me on Quora, click here.

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