The average cost of a 30-second Super Bowl spot is up this year from $3 million in 2011 to $3.5 million, which means advertisers are even more desperate to make those millions count. Even though 100 million people are expected to tune in live to the game, there are other eyeballs to grab. According to Reuters, for example, “Consumer research forecasts that 60 percent of fans watching the Super Bowl will also be tied into a second screen such as a smartphone or tablet.”
Thus, in what sounds like an Alex Blagg sketch waiting to happen, advertisers are rolling out the social media strat.
It’s true that for some reason–that always seemed a little strange to us–the Super Bowl elevates the act of people trying to sell you things into art or entertainment. Hence, brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Audi, are just trying to build on the fact that fans will already be talking about their commercials on social media and, they hope, organize the response to try to measure it.
According to Reuters, Twitter hashtags are the obvious choice:
“Coca-Cola’s TV commercials, which will air during the first-and second-quarter breaks, will center around its computer-generated Arctic polar bears watching the game. The bears will then be brought to life on Twitter, Facebook and on a dedicated Website doing such things as responding to fans and commenting on the game. They will even have their own Twitter hashtag –#GameDayPolarBears — for fans to follow.”
Pepsi is taking it one step further with a commercial featuring “X Factor USA” winner Melanie Amaro–first time we’ve ever heard of her!– singing “Respect.” Using the Shazam app, viewers of the commercial can download a free video of the performance onto their phone. Whereas Volkwagen is also going to hashtag route:
“This year, Volkswagen’s Audi is hoping to win more creative kudos with a spot that taps into the “Twilight” teen vampire pop culture phenomenon. The 60-second spot, which will air during the first break in the game, will highlight the new 2013 Audi S7 and its LED headlight technology, which has unfortunate consequences for a party of young vampires.
Audi hopes to continue the conversation about the ad via the Twitter hashtag #SoLongVampires.”
Hopes being the operative word. If Occupy Wall Street has taught us anything, it’s that you can try to institute a universal hashtag, but that doesn’t guarantee it’ll stick. Take Groupon’s unpopular Super Bowl spot last year, which featured Timothy Hutton segueing between the Tibetan people’s political struggles and $15 off at the Himalayan Restaurant in Chicago. Groupon might have gone with #GrouponSuperBowl, but most viewers went with #FAIL.