Social Media Marketing Examples from Super Bowl XLVI

Last year, I made a few predictions about this year’s Super Bowl 46.  And most of them actually came true.  This year we saw the first ever QR code integration into a Super Bowl ad, over 20 ad leaks on YouTube before the big game and a better use of hashtags in commercials.   While I still think improvements can be made building more integration into traditional advertisements with social campaigns, here are a few examples from this year:

Jumping on the ‘Volkswagen’

Last year, Volkswagen broke ground by releasing their ‘The Force‘ Super Bowl commercial early on YouTube garnering 12 million views before the ad even aired on TV.  This strategy allowed the spot to get a head start on the competition, driving the majority of the conversation and extending its lifespan.  This year, over 20 companies followed in their footsteps—ranging from a full week to a few days in advance.  While all the same benefits applied to these ads, the volume of pre-released commercials may slightly hindered them from having the same success as Volkswagen did last year.  Most pre-released ads only averaged a couple million views, with only a few standouts like Honda’s ‘Matthew’s Day Off’ receiving 10 million before game time.  It will be interesting to see next year if releasing ads early will be the status quo or if brands will pull back for the element of surprise like Chrysler (client), who is already being named the ‘King of Super Bowl spots’ according to CNNMoney.

Hashtag #Love

Brands like Budweiser, Audi, Best Buy, General Electric and Pizza Hut kept the Twitter conversation going about their commercials this year by strategically placing hashtags in their spots.  Audi, the first and only brand last year to slap a hashtag at the end of their Super Bowl commercial, further integrated the strategy into their ad this year with #SoLongVampires.  The brand hashtags aided in consolidating discussions for consumers and in some cases allowed the ad to briefly become a trending topic.

Go Daddy QR Code

Last year, I predicted more QR code integration in Super Bowl ads going forward.  Go Daddy became the first brand to use a QR code this year in their .Co ad spot and is already claiming the best mobile website traffic ever.  The QR Code appeared on the screen for almost the full spot, which helped those without a DVR to participate but I think it’s too early to say whether we will see this strategy implemented in future Super Bowl ads to come.  If advertisers were able to purchase real estate during a television program so their QR Code or MS Tag is able to be displayed for more than 30 seconds they may see a better return.

Chevy Game Time App

Chevy extended its commercial experience onto mobile this year with the Chevy Game Time application.  Simultaneous with the Super Bowl, application users could answer questions or respond to polls for prizes as well as push updates about activity onto Facebook and Twitter.  However, the most exciting piece of the campaign was watching for your unique license plate number to appear on a featured Chevy in a Super Bowl ad.  Users who registered before January 27th were given a license plate code and instructed to watch the Chevy ads carefully.  If their license plate appeared on a vehicle in the commercial, the user won the Chevrolet vehicle it was featured on.  Additional vehicle giveaways also occurred after the Super Bowl on YouTube and the mobile application.

NBC Live Stream

Though less social, the NBC live stream gave a great view of the game for the die-hard football fan.  With five camera angles, stats, instant replays and slow motion, one could argue it was better than DVR!  From a social perspective, NBC provided a Twitter battle between the two teams, social sharing and as a place to ask Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk questions about the game.  Two improvements I would like to see from the next network to host a Super Bowl live stream:  1) Allow for better visibility of the Super Bowl ads and 2) partner with a social network like Get Glue to integrate a deep social element into the feed.

Social integration aside, out of all the ads this year, I really enjoyed the ones with more depth behind them.  Chrysler’s ‘It’s Halftime in America’ continued the Imported from Detroit story arc from last year and kept the momentum behind rebuilding America alive.  Hyundai’s ‘Rocky’ ad featured real employees from an Alabama plant, Chevy’s ‘Happy Grad’ was made by an amateur filmmaker who entered the idea in a contest and Budweiser’s ‘Official Big Game’ hockey fan-mob (only airing in Canada) showed the genuine reaction of two Ontario rec hockey teams who got surprise NHL treatment for a game.  The reason I bring up these ads is because we are seeing more transparency in them, more of putting the consumers first.  This idea embodies what social media marketing can do for brands, so it’s neat to indirectly see that idea translate to traditional advertisements.

How did you watch the Super Bowl this year?  Device-in-hand?  Live stream?  What were your highlights?  Let me know in the comments!

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