How the Super Bowl became the year's biggest social TV event

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

Updated: It’s official: every single major Super Bowl media investment has a social TV component. Brands with hopes at leveraging the big game to reach consumers have recognized that investing in buzz during the event isn’t enough. To truly capitalize on those millions that they’re about to spend on a commercial spot, they must hype the social web like never before. Shazam has a big announcement coming up, and it has already said it will power up to a third of the ads during the game. Brands are buying promoted tweets linking to articles about their upcoming ads and are leaking teaser clips across YouTube. The NFL has launched a Social Media Command Center. Social TV apps are gearing up for the big night and journalists can’t stop chatting about all aspects of the big night. Here’s how:

Brands leveraging social for the big game:

1. Coca-Cola has literally developed a social TV platform, strategy and entertainment spectacle around the Superbowl that involves bringing back the infamous polar bears, strategically embedding content across Facebook, Twitter and second screens and most importantly treating their commercials as real-time an event as the game itself. When you read more about this massive social TV investment you not only begin to forget that a big football game is happening, but that there’s even going to be a commercial on TV.

2. Kia achieved world fame in 2011 with their addictive hamster commercials and their sales jumped 36% in the US. To prepare for the big game they use Twitter’s promoted tweet platform extremely well by showcasing an article USA Today had written about their upcoming commercial. Afterwards they leaked a clip from their commercial to give a sneak peak at the “male fantasy” they’re set to unleash.

3. Acura went the hilarious route and nailed Jerry Seinfeld and and Jay Leno for their commercial about the new Acura NSX. The funniest part of this campaign is the #hashtag they’re using to promote it both in the title of the video and on Twitter. #JerrysNSX already has some funny chatter.

4. Chevy has launched a second-screen app called Chevy Game Time (iTunes) that promises to serve up live factoids, tweets and trivia for a chance to win 20 Chevy’s and thousands of other prizes. (Even advertisers are competing for the second screen!) Chevy also ended up running an impressive crowd-sourced campaign to determine what their spot would be. Being true to the age of YouTube, they allowed anyone around the world to compete to create their Superbowl spot. After watching the clip, you can’t help but smile at Zach Borst’s film “Chevy Happy Grad.” Chevy also seems to have ownership over the promoted #superbowl, which almost a week before the event has already been activated.

5. Honda: Muck Rack‘s (my company’s community and tools for uncovering journalists on social) Steve McGookin reports that the journalism community has deemed Honda’s Bueller ad as the first “hit.” The commercial puts Matthew Broderick back in his “day off” while creatively using the car to retell the opening scene of the infamous movie in Broderick’s moder day life. The fact that a “winner” might already be determined is telling of the impact the social web has.

Pepsi MAX, VW, Doritos, Audi and more have all been hyping up their Super Bowl activations as well. One wonders if the $3.5 million they’re paying NBC for 30-seconds is worth it when they can count YouTube views for free.

The NFL’s Social Media Command Center:

The host committee from Superbowl host Indianapolis has tapped agency Raidious and CEO Taulbee Jackson to produce the Superbowl’s first ever social media command center to manage what might turn into another record breaking night of live TV. Mashable reports:

Advanced search tools and analytics will help Jackson and his team identify fans in need of help by indexing key words and phrases. For example, a fan won’t need to tweet, “where can I find parking?” to get help; Raidious operatives will be able to pick up on a general phrase such as “parking sucks” to offer assistance.

It seems that this command center is focused on those attending the game itself. If effective this could set a major precedent for what’s need at every major event to try and curate conversations in a positive and useful direction as people share and try to find information.

NBC will stream the game in a free second-screen experience:

In a Superbowl first, will stream the game online with additional camera angles, in-game highlight, live stats, commercial replays and other goodies. “By adding multiple camera angles, HD-quality video, DVR controls along with social interactivity, our online streaming represents a compelling, second-screen experience that nicely complements NBC’s on-air presentation,” said Rick Cordella, VP and GM, NBC Sports Digital Media. NBC is working with Mass Relevance to bring social content into the online broadcast, which will also include Twitter Q&A. has also created a second-screen experience called NFL Huddle, which blends together social updates from players, hosts and the media. You can also post to the stream and simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook. And it features a “players trends” section and trending football topics, as well.

What are the social TV startups planning for the big game?

1. GetGlue has “never been more excited for the year’s biggest game” according to a blog post from Director of Partnerships & Content, Kimber Myers. There’s already been over 11,000 checkins and almost 9,000 likes. It seems like the popular social app needs something more to make a big splash for the big game. If they were able to secure a partnership with EW and the Gap around fall TV, I’d like another 40% off a nice hoodie for checking in to watch the New York Giants win.

2. Miso will put SideShows to work during the Super Bowl, partnering with Hyundai for the second-screen experience. Viewers “will receive rich multimedia content during key moments of the game from videos, polls, music and more while engaging with the brand.” Explains Miso CEO Somrat Niyogi, “The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in live television and clearly becoming more social each year. We’re excited to be working with Hyundai to enhance the Super Bowl experience.”

3. Networked Insights is the only social TV data company to already have a dedicated blog post up about the Superbowl. In Director of Marketing Jason Kapler’s “Make Every Ad Perform Like a Superbowl Ad,” the company smartly markets their “treasure chest of ideas,” that brands can subscribe to with suggestions on how to leverage the big game even if they can’t afford the $3.5 mil on a spot. Their guide covers the halftime show and post-game show that NBC will air as two possible ways in. While there’s no doubt we will be posting some exciting information from the other social TV data companies, I’m curious how much deeper it will go then the predictable “Superbowl sets social TV record,” and “here were the most talked about moments.”

Update: NM Incite released a Giants vs Patriots: Playbook for the social Super Bowl. The playbook shows that the New England Patriots had more visitors on their team’s website, but the New York Giants have more buzz on social media.

4. SecondScreen Networks, a synchronized ad network for second-screen experiences, will make its Super Bowl debut this year with GoDaddy ads synched with mobile apps from publishers Preplay and TapCast. So as you’re browsing those apps, when the GoDaddy spots appear on TV, they’ll appear inside the apps, as well. SecondScreen says this is the first in a series of shared-experience events for their synchronized ads.

5. Foursquare has yet to make any Superbowl announcements. At this time last year, the NYC-based social platform was announcing that they would be promoting the Superbowl has a venue to everyone. When check-ins exceeded 200,000 after the game, social TV companies were a bit terrified that the location experts were experimenting in the TV space. Now that Foursquare is more focused on recommendations, it seems they might not do anything intentionally around the Superbowl TV experience.

This list of social TV in the Super Bowl is meant as a starting point, let us know in the comments or via email if we’ve missed anything that should be included.