Social Media’s Role in the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII


Every year, I count the days until the NFL Super Bowl. But for me, it’s not because of the teams playing or watching the game at the bar with my friends, it’s all about the TV ads of course! Why else would anybody be interested in watching a Super Bowl right? Just kidding, no but really..

Ever since I can remember, even before I chose Advertising as my career, Super Bowl TV Ads have always been a big deal. I have a very vivid memory of watching a Disney Channel TV show in the early 2000’s, where the father owned a small town paint shop and the newscast ran his homemade commercial during the Super Bowl by mistake, and all hell broke loose. I remember not understanding why the whole family was surprised and extremely excited at the same time. Well, now I get it.

This year a 30-second spot ranges from $3.7 million to around $3.8 million. No biggie, right? And companies are O.K. with spending ridiculous amounts of money to run their ads during, well, the most-watched program of the year. Why? For advertisers, the Super Bowl is like a pot of gold because every single one of their target markets tunes in to watch. Which is why we get to see everything from the infamous Budweiser horses, to Volkwagen’s Darth Vader kid, to’s racy ads.

But wait, what does social media has to do with all of this?  Well, A LOT.

Even though Advertising has been around forever, Social Media is still sort of a new concept. Advertising is no longer about reaching the masses and hoping that your desired market will catch on; it’s about reaching your specific target market successfuly. Advertising is no longer a one-way conversation; it is now more of an interaction between the consumer and the seller. Doritos, for example, caught this early on. For the past two or three years, Doritos has asked consumers to share ideas for their Super Bowl ad. Doritos then chooses the top five ads (you can see them all here) and shares them online around six weeks before the Super Bowl airs so that fans can vote for their favorite, which will be the one running during the event.

Other companies, like Mercedes-Benz USA, go in a different route: instead of giving away their ad before it actually airs, they post ‘teaser videos’ on social media. The reason behind this is to cause buzz and get people talking about what the ad might be. For the past two years Mercedes-Benz USA decided not to run in the Super Bowl. However, this year Supermodel Kate Upton is to be featured in the commercial, as the ‘teaser’ below shows:

Both approaches can be effective. On one side, Doritos is doing an awesome job in interacting with their consumers and giving them a say in their advertising strategy (in effect, letting people decide the best way to market to themselves). On the other, Mercedes-Benz is doing a great job in stirring the pot, causing buzz, and making consumers anxiously await for “what’s coming”. These are two examples of companies that are aware of the power of satisfying their audience’s ad desires to their advertising strategy via social media, and successfully use it to their advantage.

What are the new Doritos and Mercedez-Benz Super Bowl Ads going to be? We’ll soon find out.

*This blog was originally posted in The Social U by me as a contributor to the site.


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