Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon. The Super Bowl is the most watched television broadcast in the U.S. Super Bowl XLV in 2011 attracted an average audience of 111 million viewers. The network that broadcasts the Super Bowl charges a premium on the advertising during the game. At this year’s Super Bowl XLVII, the average cost of a 30-second advertisement was around $4 million.


This makes it a privilege for companies to be part of the Super Bowl advertising.Companies are willing to pay the money because it is the best way to get the most views and publicity as possible. It is great for companies with a new product that are trying to build brand awareness as well as for companies that are trying to rebuild their brand.

Many viewers only watch the game to see the commercials. They probably don’t remember who won the Super Bowl in 1984, but they remember the 1984 Apple commercial that introduced Macintosh.

1984 Apple Macintosh Commercial

A reason for the continued popularity of this commercial along with many other Super Bowl commercials is because of social media.

The trend in social media with the Super Bowl has been progressing over the past few years. Social media has turned the Super Bowl into an even bigger marketing event than it already was. Companies are making social networking a focal point of their advertising plan for the Super Bowl.


Before YouTube, if you missed the Super Bowl, you missed the commercials. You were then out of the loop in the conversations for the next week or so. Now you can watch all of the top commercials aired during the game through YouTube’s Ad Blitz program.

YouTube has given companies the ability to get more ‘bang for their buck’ in terms of Super Bowl advertisements. Social media has enabled commercials to ‘go viral’ and generate millions of additional views. Having a commercial ‘go viral’ is as important as having it play during the Super Bowl. Social media helps to justify the lucrative cost of advertising at the Super Bowl.

Companies have started to generate a buzz before the Super Bowl. In doing so, they are extending the life of their investments. Companies are taking advantage of social networking to be more interactive with consumers. They are giving fans a chance to have a say in the ads that appear during the Super Bowl. Doritos was one of the first brands to use ‘crowd-sourcing’ to get people involved before the Super Bowl. It launched “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign for ads made by fans.

At this year’s Super Bowl there were some companies that generated a major advantage because they were ‘quick on their feet’ with social media.


Oreo took to twitter with a quick-witted ad just minutes after the power went out. The tweet that went along with this ad read: “No power? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” It was retweeted nearly 15,000 times and won respect for making the most of the moment. It created even more buzz than its TV ad.

More examples of social media during this year’s Super Bowl are found on the link below.

9 Brands That Thought Fast on Social Media During the Super Bowl

Super Bowl ads along with social media can create a huge success for companies. We will definitely see more emphasis on social strategy in the Super Bowls of the future.


  1. Something that I couldn’t get over this year watching the Super Bowl was the fact that every single ad had a # with some phrase attached to it. I think you make a great point in say that people really remember the ad’s rather than the game- or at least, I do!

    As you mention, “The trend in social media with the Super Bowl has been progressing over the past few years. Social media has turned the Super Bowl into an even bigger marketing event than it already was. Companies are making social networking a focal point of their advertising plan for the Super Bowl.” How companies will try to out do each other in the future with social media at the Super Bowl? Will companies opt out of buying ad-space during the game and instead use free things like twitter to their advantage? I can’t be sure but I don’t think I remember seeing an oreo ad during the SuperBowl and it seems to be the only thing people are still talking about. I am interested to see what will happen in the future with the mix of TV ad space and social media, and if the two will blend, or if one will be more valuable than the other.

  2. I think social media got more attention than the super bowl this year. One of the reasons of the spike in social media was the use of mobile devices. Overall, mobile communication accounted for 88% of the stream of chatter, up from 67% last year. I think that is quite a large jump, and we will most likely see that increase in years to come. Bluefin Labs, a firm in Cambridge, Mass., that analyzes social media related to TV, also reported the game was at the center of a record. Bluefin counted 30.6 million social-media comments related to the game: 27.7 million on Twitter and 2.8 million on Facebook. Bluefin says that compares with 28.3 million comments for election night coverage in November, 13 million for the 2012 Grammy Awards, and 12.8 million for the MTV Video Music Awards. Rediculous! The Super Bowl is obviously a great place for companies to advertise and social media was a huge advantage for companies that were ‘quick on their feet,’ as you mentioned. Companies are going to have to be even more clever next year. Do you think there will come a time when social media and advertisements outshine the game? It will be interesting to see the emphasis on social strategy in the Super Bowls of the future. Nice blog!

  3. Great post Meg! I was one of those people who watched the Super Bowl to see the commercials, and it did not disappoint! I am not the most savvy social media person (I’m getting better with this class), however, all of the commercials and buzz online had me looking up different brands for a good hour. I found it incredibly interesting how competitors of companies that had commercial air-time were using social media to “combat” or respond to their rivals’ commercials. For example, after the Audi prom commercial aired, Nissan fired back (via Twitter) with: “Have confidence to make a move at prom, but rather not get punched in the face? You can Date Better With Sentra” (See advertisement here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=E_iSe_RuSH4&list=PL72331B4E4A877E17). The ability to react to a competitor’s commercial so fast and so effectively makes social media a great marketing and business tool!

  4. This does make me wonder, considering the success of Oreo and other on-the-fly ads/reactions, if at some point we’ll see advertisers abandon such expensive ad spots in favor of, effectively, providing brand-influenced color commentary over social media.

    It would be cheaper and more resonant with whatever is happening in the now.

    1. It is interesting the way that social media has changed company advertising. I do think that companies will start to choose the use social media advertising over paying the lucrative fees of tv broadcasts, especially at the SuperBowl. It will be interesting to see how this affects the prestige of the SuperBowl commercials. Having a SuperBowl commercial might not be ‘the thing to’ anymore. It might not be much of a privilege for companies in the future due to the presence of social media.

  5. I think you’re right when you say how big of an impact Youtube has on the super bowl ads. Not only can you rewatch all of your favorite ads after the game, but a lot of companies released their ads days before the game to hype them up. It is amazing how much things have changed over the last few years. It used to be if you missed the commercial live, you might never see it again. I always used to look forward to the news the next morning to see the recap of the best ads of the night. Now, every ad can be accessed within seconds on Youtube. I’m interested to see how social media will further evolve ads moving forward into the future.

  6. I find it so interesting that the most successful ad of the Super Bowl (Oreo’s tweet) likely costed way less (if anything at all) than the average Super Bowl TV ad. I think this shows that marketing is becoming more creative and innovative due to social media. For a long time, good advertising meant a big price tag, and companies just had to deal with this. But now thanks to Facebook and Twitter, companies can put out wildly successful advertisements for little or no money. This is a major opportunity that companies and brands need to recognize.

  7. Sorry I’m just now getting to this post (crazy week). Very nice job. As I noted in class, I was super impressed with the Oreo response, only because I thought of all the organizational stuff that need to be in place to take advantage of the blackout like that. I think this will be a watershed moment for social media, where managers will finally realize the possible benefits of having a social media task force in place.

  8. Great post! Along the lines of Superbowl commercials vs viral promotions, my friend passed on this video to me the other day. He said that a couple of years ago (don’t quote me on the date) this commercial was supposed to air at the Superbowl, but then gained so much viral promotions beforehand that it never ended up going on airtime. Makes you wonder whether paying as much as these businesses do for Superbowl commercials is really worth it. Check the video out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mIBKifOOQQ

  9. […] #SuperBowl. […]

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