the social super bowl

Next Sunday’s Super Bowl will be one of the biggest social media integrated live events ever, including a 2,800-square-foot social media command center built for the game.

Super Bowl advertisers are building social into their campaigns like never before. GM created a Chevy Game Time mobile app to answer trivia, win prizes, and engage during the game. Coke is hosting a live game day watching party on Facebook with its polar bears reacting to the Super Bowl and social media in real time. Others have been drip-feeding teasers of their ads on social media for weeks leading up the games.

It’s a big step from last year, when Audi tried to make a lot of hay out of simply using a Twitter hashtag at the end of their ad.

Like every year, the marketing world will be taking note. What’s notable this year is that social will be more than just an afterthought. It will be deeply integrated into the creative itself.

The most important marketing lesson of the Super Bowl is that the quality of the ads often rivals the game itself. They are “ads worth spreading“, an expression that TED coined for a competition that celebrates quality ads: “With this competition, we’re seeking to reverse the trend of online ads being aggressively forced on users. We want to nurture ads so good you choose to watch.”

Social media integration can’t help an ad that isn’t inherently worth spreading. As marketers, we should all create ads so good people choose to watch.

(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)

Here’s one of my earliest cartoons, from 2003.

  1. Mary Cole says

    Marketing is a continuing process of trying different things to see what works. Smart marketing tries things on a small scale before spending on a large scale. Who can forget the expensive GoDaddy commercial during the 2005 SuperBowl? Like the Apple 1984 commercial, it lingers in the collective memory, so maybe the money wasn’t wasted. Still, I’d like to think that SuperBowl parties are about getting together with friends and not about the game becoming secondary to discussions about it in Social Media. Let’s check back on the topic February 5th, after the Patriots win.

  2. Jim McHugh says

    Social media brings new life to Dinah Shore’s old Chevy jingle ‘See the USA in your Chevrolet’.

    Go Pats

  3. T Rouse says

    I have a work-issued, late-model blackberry with a slow browser so I will definitely be stealing the wife’s iPhone to sample the digital shenanigans on Sunday. Now the real question is “can I bill clients for watching the Super Bowl?” Or, in the spirit of tax season, can I monetize my viewing and somehow deduct it as an unreimbursed business expense? Go Giants!

  4. Elizabeth Talerman says

    Will this image change as we are able to do more on the TV itself or, have we now entered a permanent state of personalized entertainment in social settings where everyone controls their own screen? Seems to me that JetBlue, Virgin and the pioneers of the seat-back entertainment were actually the precursors to the modern living-room.

  5. Joey Katona says

    As a kid, what I actually enjoyed more than watching the Super Bowl was the 90 minutes I spent after the game fast forwarding through the sports to get to the ads — since I inevitably had to help entertain guests and was hardly able to watch in real time.

    Nowadays, I wonder if my childhood behavior is more the norm…at least no iPads allowed at my watch party :)

  6. Just old fashioned I guess says

    All too accurate, I’m afraid, and, a sign of current times albeit not a good one in my mind. Previously, getting together to watch “the” game brought together the friends who enjoyed sprending a lively afternoon visiting, snacking, and drinking while watching the winning teams battle it out. Remember when the phone answering machine would be turned on for such occasions… to important to interrupt the party with phone calls… now most everyone at the party will be glued to their own phone and will spend more time socializing with those not present than those sitting next to them on the couch….. :(

  7. Charlotte Ciccone says

    I can’t wait for all of the SuperBowl commercials! I do love watching the actual game, but ever since I can remember, even before I became a Marketing Manager, I was always extremely interested in the commercials. My family and friends have been dealing with me analyzing every commercial and giving my real-time comments through out each commercial. It will be interesting to see just how socially integrated each commercial will be as well as how my family and friends react to participating in any social media calls-to-action.

  8. Eye on consumers... says

    So accurate and so true! Definitely a reflection on the focus of consumers, the networks and retailers over the years. At one time the Super Bowl was about the game, the actual sport of football and the challenge. Over the years, the focus has shifted to the Marketing side of the event, with first all the Super Bowl memorabilia, to the retailers capitalizing on it with their advertising. More time is now spent getting another beer or chips during the game than during commercials, as everyone wants to see the ads. Interesting that with all the escalating focus the commercials have gotten in recent years, manufacturers are still trying to see how they can connect even more closely to the consumer – with the trend to have consumer-generated ads (to create more “buzz”) to now the push to even more customized, personalized, social media during the game. The big question will be, with all the Twittering and social media tools being used throughout the game – what will be the subject of their social media frenzy…as it likely won’t be the game or the party they are attending.

  9. Larry Burns says

    I am definitely feeling that old sensation of ‘being in the bubble’ reading some of our comments.

    However, I fear we do spend a lot of time talking to one another and creating the sensation that everyone’s parties are like ours. Sure, there in interest in the entertainment of the ads because of all the hype and lead in and everything surrounding it – but truth told last few Super Bowl parties I’ve been at were PARTIES that happened to have the Super Bowl on. To me, unless ones team / the ho,me team (for me = Steelers!)is playing attention wanders and conversations take place having little, at times, to do with the game.

    Super Bowl has become a great, socially acceptable way to PARTY and we do. We’d like to believe people are in rapt attention to the ads we so lavishly produce, critique and talk about – and on rare occasions something does linger beyond the next news cycle. To reappear again in the lead up to the next year when they hopefully include ours in the “Best SB ads of all time”. But, really … given the basic comprehension so many people have about advertising and marketing folks often do play along … but … if I were a CMO I’d need a lot of convincing.

    It has turned into trying to “win the SB marketing” in part because of marketers egos as much as it is real long lasting benefit to the brand. And of course it is steeped in the old model of reach/frequency – a model that so obviously must change and yet … we remain addicted. So Super Bowls are great fun and we will debate and see what social outcomes are – frankly I’d much rather have my brand on the buffet table that people try and say “Hey this is really good” then anything else …

    It will be, as always entertaining and we’ll talk and rate and anyone in marketing/advertising not fully conversant early Monday morning will somehow be deemed a misfit – but at the end of the day “ads worth spreading“ will be – and those that are not won’t. Meanwhile ENJOY all ….

  10. says

    Hi all,

    Great comments this week. Many thanks!

    This week’s print goes to Larry. I really like his reminder that even more powerful than a memorable Super Bowl ad is a memorable product experience on the buffet table.

    Enjoy the game, and the water cooler banter that follows!


  11. Bob Eckstein says

    Fantastic, Tom! Love these. That last cartoon is VERY good.

    I’m actually going to be drawing cartoons live during the Super Bowl. They’ll appear on the NY Time’s website and later in the paper. It should be fun and nerve-racking.

    Hope all is well and please let me know if you return to NYC.

  12. Susan says

    Elizabeth Talerman “have we now entered a permanent state of personalized entertainment in social settings where everyone controls their own screen?”
    Yes we have! I was stuck at the Denver airport w/ 4 of my best friends for FIVE hours and I was so bummed they were all involved w/ their smartphones/ipads except me… (I only have dumbphone) but after I whined, they introduced me to “words w/ friends” (i.e., e-scrabble)…it was SO much fun and they let me play too…they had a bunch of games going w/ remote friends. “If you can’t beat them, join them.” and the 5 hours passed quickly and now I’m addicted to that game too and really want the handheld device I swore I didn’t need.
    Btw, when I asked “What is that that keeps flashing at the top of the screen?” “Oh, that’s just the ads, they’re really annoying. Just ignore them.” (Sorry to break the news if you place any ads there…).
    Thanks again for the great markettoons! Superbowl ads are my favorite part of the game, but I didn’t see any CLIO award winners this year.

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