The Social Media Bowl

Feb062012

Three and a Half Million Dollars

That’ll raise a few eyebrows. That’s also how much some companies are spending on one 30 second TV spot during the Super Bowl. Sounds a bit insane, doesn’t it? Then again, it is The Super Bowl – arguably the best entertainment event of the year. In fact, Super Bowl 45 in 2011 drew an estimated 111 million viewers in the US alone. Now that’s and audience. But as far as ads go, we all know what to expect. Budweiser, Pepsi and General Motors will inevitably make a splash, engaging the male-centric audience with cheap laughs and sex appeal. Some things just don’t change. In fact, over the last ten years, those three companies have spent a combined $897 million on Super Bowl advertising alone.

While most Canadians were commercial starved and restricted to terrible local ads, Hyundai and Fiat did hit home with their ads. But let’s be honest, the real advertising game, as we all know, is played south of the border. And I’m sure by now you’ve all YouTubed the best American Super Bowl commercials of 2012.

However, every year there are new players in the (advertising) game. Last year we saw social sites Living Social, Groupon and Salesforce’s Chatter.com fork up the big bucks to make their mark. Was it worth it? Who knows. There is one thing I know for sure, and that is who won the Super Bowl…again. And no, I’m not talking about Eli Manning and The Giants. I’m talking about Social Media.

#WeAreTheChampions

Yup, they did it again. Social Media is your Superbowl champion. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Facebook and Twitter didn’t run any ads, what are you talking about?” That’s the thing – they didn’t have to. Everyone else did it for them. While spending over $3 million to promote their own brand, most companies also encouraged viewers to visit their Facebook Page or Follow them on Twitter. And of course let’s not forget the aforementioned YouTube that millions of people will flock to in order to relive these ads, over and over again.

I can see it now – Mark Zuckerberg, sitting back comfortably in his California home with a little smirk on his face every time his company’s name was mentioned in front over 100 million people – for free. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

While Facebook dominated last year’s Super Bowl, Twitter made a huge push this year. Some mega-brands utilized hashtags in their campaigns to drive conversation on Twitter, including Audi’s #SoLongVampires ad, a brilliant move to not only generate buzz around their product, but giving them the ability to track the conversation. Furthermore, Twitter announced last night, via their Twitter account, that during the last 3 minutes of the Super Bowl there was an average of 10,000 Tweets per second – a new record.

Chevrolet took a different approach, targeting the mobile market with their interactive trivia application that let users play along during the game for their chance to win one of 20 Chevy’s, while of course sharing their experience via their social networks.

It’s a Social Game

When the Patriots and Giants last met in the 2008 Super Bowl, Twitter was still in it’s infancy and Facebook only had a mere 100 million users. But oh have times changed. Four short years later, Facebook is approaching 900 million users world wide and Twitter has become the ultimate real-time communication tool. Twitter adoption in the NFL is arguably higher than any other major sports league as teams, fans, reporters and players alike have embraced this tool. In fact, of the players in this year’s SuperBowl, 64 of them are on Twitter. Incredible.

So this begs the question – have the NFL and the Super Bowl become more social, or has society?

We are not only seeing a huge shift in traditional advertising, but also in the way we communicate as human beings.