There’s only three weeks of football left in the regular season – that means Super Bowl Sunday will be here before you know it. On February 1, 2015, millions of viewers will tune in to Super Bowl XLIX, not only for the big game, but also for the highly anticipated commercials. Companies shell out millions of dollars for these commercials to get exposure during one of the most watched sporting events on television. Last year, Super Bowl viewership in the United States climbed to 111.5 million from 108.4 million in 2013.
Social media plays a significant role in consumer engagement for companies during the Super Bowl. In 2014, viewers wrote 583,152 Tweets and 650,757 Facebook posts about the Super Bowl ads. This use of social media, however, does not only occur during the game. Preparations begin long before game time, from both an operations and marketing standpoint. The companies below have been preparing for their 2015 Super Bowl commercial debuts and are generating plenty of social buzz.
Social media presence for the Super Bowl is so important to Anheuser-Busch that it is planning to operate four social media command centers around the country. The centers will be staffed with representatives from Bud Light, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the company’s creative agencies and marketing developers, all of whom will be ready to create real-time, improvised content before, during, and after the game.
The company has recently practiced its quick response to social chatter when it was reported that the famous Clydesdales would not be appearing during the upcoming Super Bowl. Anheuser-Busch cleared that rumor up, confirming that they will, in fact, return. Here is a Clydesdale in last year’s Budweiser ad, “Puppy Love,” which was the most shared video online and ranked number one on USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter 2014. I’m hoping the story continues this year with the pup all grown up! #stillbestbuds
For the ninth consecutive year, Doritos is promoting its “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial competition, in which consumers create and submit their own 30-second Doritos brand commercial. The grand-prize winner, selected from the top five finalists by voters’ choice, wins air time during the Super Bowl, the opportunity to work on a special project with Universal Studios, and $1 million. Social media is the driver of this competition, as the video creators rely on sharing their submission to generate views, ratings, and votes. Doritos has been promoting this competition constantly on all of its social media channels using the hashtag #CrashTheSuperBowl to facilitate the conversation.
My friend and her husband actually submitted their commercial and are now one of 29 submissions in the semi-finals. Please share their video below to help get them to the finals! (My friend is the red-head on the beach).
GoDaddy is switching gears with its commercial this year, opting for adorable instead of scandalous. Its ad will feature the cuddly golden retriever puppy below (just look at that face!) alongside Danica Patrick. To get its consumers involved, the company is asking the social community to submit names for the little guy using the hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy. Once his name is chosen, he will be given his own Twitter handle.
Similar to Anheuser-Busch, GoDaddy will also set up a social media command center to respond to chatter throughout the game.
As you can see from the examples above, the use of hashtags in these Super Bowl advertisement promotions is prevalent. During the previous Super Bowl, 31 of the 54 national ads that ran between kick-off and the end of the game included hashtags. This was a 50 percent increase from 2013. Most of the time, hashtags were not associated with any type of social media since they are now supported on all major social networks. Hashtags are an effective way for companies to generate conversations about their commercials and products, keep track of them, and help to measure their advertising and consumer engagement success.
It will be interesting to see the type of social content other companies push out closer to the game, how quickly and cleverly they react and respond to events in real-time, and how they interact with their consumers.
With that being said… LET’S GO PATS!