Social Media Gains Yardage In Bowl XLIV Marketing


In keeping with tradition,  an ad slot in next month’s Super Bowl XLIV won’t come cheap ($3 million will buy 30 seconds), but brands willing and able to drop that kind of cash seem determined to get more yardage out of their buy—largely through digital, search, mobile and social media efforts.

Virally extending the life of a half-minute spot is not a new idea for the big game. But Jon Kaplan, financial services industry director at Google, observed that this year the trend is toward “integration” and a new “level of sophistication”—both for first-time advertisers and for veteran brands returning with digital strategies more elaborate than last year. “If you’re going to spend $3 million on a Super Bowl spot,” he said, “you want to have some ‘wow’ factor that keeps it living on.”

For instance, PepsiCo snack foods division Frito-Lay will reprise Doritos Crash the Super Bowl (now in its fourth incarnation). The contest selects and airs the most popular consumer-generated ads. But this time, it’ll allow contestants to post and share video submissions via Facebook, Digg and Twitter, and alert friends which ads they voted for.

“When you consider the thousands and thousands of views the videos get—and how many times they’re shared—it’s a pretty viral piece,” said Frito-Lay rep Chris Kuechenmeister, who explained that the contest enhancements stemmed from company marketers noticing that consumers were already sharing the videos through social-networking channels. In a related strategy, Papa John’s will be using mobile banner ads and SMS text messaging to launch its new, Super XL IV pizza. (The Roman numerals stand for “extra large” and “four-toppings.”)

Meanwhile, first-time advertisers like Boost Mobile are seeding popular online video sites such as YouTube with 15-second teaser versions of its Super Bowl ad. The goal is “to create excitement even before the [TV] spot airs,” said Caralene Robinson, brand marketing and communications director for the Sprint Prepaid Group.

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