It doesn’t matter if you like football or not, the Super Bowl is one of the top-viewed programs in history. Last year 111.3 million people tuned in to see the Giants beat the Patriots 21 to 17. I’m American so I’m programmed to invite a bunch of people over, make some greasy food and sit down and watch the Super Bowl every February — whether or not I actually LIKE football.
I’m convinced that it’s the Super Bowl commercials that keep people coming back every year. Watching brands try to outdo each other is fascinating – the sky’s the limit. Now that social media is such a big player come game day, brands not only have to wow us with the best commercial, they have to figure out how to engage us on social media as well.
Here are my top 5 Super Bowl XLVII commercials that utilize social media:
5. Bud Light
Budweiser has always been a leader when it comes to Super Bowl commercials — who can forget about the Clydesdales? This year they are not disappointing. Bud Light spent most of the month getting their social media channels buzzing about the Super Bowl and their Bud Light Hotel contest. They are turning a 200-room hotel in New Orleans into the Bud Light Hotel and held a Facebook contest to pick correspondents to stay in the hotel over the Super Bowl weekend. The correspondents will be reporting live over the course of the weekend.
What I like about Bud Light is that they are branching out this year and utilizing their MySpace page, which no other brand is doing. Their MySpace page will be broadcasting select performances at the Bud Light Hotel by such artists as Flo Rida, Pitbull and Stevie Wonder. They have been pushing out the hashtag #herewego all over Twitter and in their commercial teaser:
Coca-Cola is another brand that consistently gets their marketing right come Super Bowl time. This year Coke launched their Super Bowl ad early, but didn’t show users the ending. Coke wants you to go their site Coke Chase and pick whether the Showgirls, Badlanders or Cowboys should reach the end goal of getting a refreshing Coke. What I find interesting is that on the Coke Chase site they want you to share the video on your social channels, but when you go to Coca-Cola’s Facebook and Twitter account there is no mention of the ad or of the Super Bowl at all. With 57 million Facebook fans, I think this is a missed social media opportunity.
Doritos was the first to do user-generated content well with their Crash The Super Bowl ads. In its 7th year, Crash The Super Bowl ads don’t disappoint. Some say that the ads are formulaic, with most of the winning ads featuring an animal or a child. I say: have you been on YouTube? The top-viewed videos have either cats or kids in them — they’re cute and funny, and receive billions of thumbs-up.
This year, Doritos used a Facebook app for the voting process and further utilized other platforms to get the word out. They made behind-the-scenes videos, directors’ videos and even one video of the user’s grandparents stating why their grandson’s video should be picked. I thought Doritos did a great job with their Crash The Super Bowl campaign — but then, they have had seven years to perfect it.
The voting is over, but if I had my pick, the below video would get my vote:
On January 25th, Audi USA posted on their Facebook page, “You’ve got three choices, but this commercial can only end one way. Which ending will you choose?” They encouraged people to use their YouTube channel to pick which ending to show on Super Bowl Sunday. What I find interesting is that they’ve taken down the other two video choices and uploaded the winning version to their site, essentially making their premiere on game day irrelevant. I would have liked to see the other choices and have users continue to vote. Here is the winning commercial:
Back in December, Lincoln and Jimmy Fallon teamed up to get Twitter users to Tweet about their most memorable road trips using the hashtag #steerthescript. Then, Lincoln weaved together a story using this user-generated content to create their Super Bowl ad. There is a great landing page for this campaign that showcases the people behind the road trip stories featured in the ad.
I have to say this is my #1 pick for the best use of social media in a Super Bowl ad. It’s unique and real and gives Twitter users ownership of the commercial.
Honorable Mention: Pepsi
Okay, so there are actually 6 favourites of mine, but you can’t have a Top 6 list—nobody will read that! Therefore, I’m giving Pepsi an Honorable Mention.
Pepsi is sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show, so I would expect nothing but greatness from them. Not only is Beyonce performing, but they will also introduce the show with an intro ad using over 400 fan-submitted photos. They asked fans all over the world to submit a photo of themselves doing one of nine things: Shout, Bop Your Head, Tap Your Foot, Pucker Up, Jump In The Air, Throw Confetti, Move Like A Clock, Hands In The Air, Wave A Flashlight. I’m really curious to see how they string all these fan photos together. Currently, they have a billboard in Times Square showcasing all the photos and you can see them all on their landing page.
As well, Pepsi is running a contest to win a chance to be in the halftime show of next year’s Super Bowl. You have to Tweet out the hashtag #PEPSIHALFTIME to unlock clues on to how you can win the contest. I really like this idea, because we’ve all entered Twitter contests where you just have to use the hashtag or re-Tweet to enter. Pepsi is taking things to the next level. On another landing page there are six clues that need to be unlocked to find out how you enter to win. Genius.
As you can see, these Super Bowl ads have incorporated some great social media tactics to encourage user engagement. As social media experts, we definitely believe in the power of engaging your customer base to boost publicity.
Here are a few other Super Bowl ads that you will be seeing on Sunday that I thought deserved a mention as well. They don’t have a social media spin to them, but they are definitely being talked about on the internet.
Mercedes-Benz has been all over the news for their Super Bowl commercial (well, technically Kate Upton has been all over the news). Mercedes-Benz will be showing two ads this year, but they leaked their first ad early. It shows a scantily-clad Kate Upton watching some men wash a Mercedes-Benz. Now, she doesn’t get sprayed with water (like one would hope) but she does do her best to ooze sex appeal. The ad definitely got people talking and watching: 5,718,859 views in 9 days to be exact. Yesterday they launched the ad they’ll be showing at the Super Bowl. Hmmmm… that’s some sneaky marketing! I have to say, I kind of find it a bit lazy. Launch a sexy, controversial ad to get buzz…and then release the real commercial? The commercial they launched yesterday is really well done, but I feel they tainted it by using the “sex sells” tactic first. See both ads here:
Speaking of scantily-clad women, Go Daddy usually has Super Bowl ads that rely heavily on sexy women. This year, though, Go Daddy went in another direction with a really great ad. It shows a typical wife and husband, having the same old argument of “If you have such a great idea, then when you are going to launch it?” The commercial is seamless and had me laughing. The hashtag for the commercial is #YourBigIdea and there is a corresponding landing page to go with the campaign.
Who doesn’t love The Rock? Okay, maybe it’s just me. The Rock is doing his very first commercial and Got Milk is producing its very first Super Bowl commercial. I find it odd that the milk industry needs to advertise, but I did enjoy watching their commercial. Is it just me or does it feel like movie producers are behind the filming of some of these 30-second gems?
So Taco Bell is pulling one of their Superbowl ads because veggie lovers felt like they were making fun of vegetables. Really?! It’s Taco Bell – not really the place I think of when I say the word vegetables. I thought the ad was kind of cute.
Another ad that is causing controversy is the Volkswagen Get In. Get Happy. ad. The main character, Dave, is super happy: he drives a VW Beetle and shares his cheerful mood around the office using a Jamaican accent. After watching it, I attempted to talk in a Jamaican accent to my co-workers. It didn’t work very well (as I don’t do a Jamaican accent very well) but it made people laugh, which is the point of the commercial. I don’t think it’s offensive. One of the top comments on the YouTube ad says: “I am a Jamaican who thinks this ad is so funny, just can’t see what the controversy is all about. Funny thing though it’s not Jamaicans who think this add is offensive, but people who propose to think for us.” I think that user got it right.
Now it’s your turn to talk — what’s your favourite ad from 2013’s Super Bowl? Or all time? Link to a video clip in your comment!
And one last reminder: if you’re Canadian, don’t worry about missing out on the American ads — you can follow along and vote for your favourites this Sunday on YouTube’s Ad Blitz channel.