Cars.com Bypasses Super Bowl TV Ads and Goes Digital-First on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Anheuser-Busch InBev and Colgate will use social to supplement their Big Game spots

The Big Match positions Cars.com as a matchmaker in the automotive category
Cars.com

Spending more than $5 million on a television ad during Super Bowl LIII is a great investment in some cases and a way to be part of the cultural phenomenon that Super Bowl ads have become, but brands are also turning to social platforms to deliver their messages before, during and after the Big Game.

Facebook shared details on how Cars.com, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Colgate are incorporating its family of applications into their efforts for Super Bowl LIII.

The social network said 62 million people worldwide spurred 270 million interactions on Facebook related to Super Bowl LII, and there were 198 million interactions from 53 million people on Instagram.

For Super Bowl LI, 64 million people generated 240 million interactions on Facebook, and 44 million people sparked 150 million interactions on Instagram.

For comparison’s sake, Facebook said that throughout 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia—June 14 through July 15 of that year—383 million people interacted on Facebook and 272 million did so on Instagram.

Cars.com is not running a TV ad during Super Bowl LIII, instead teaming up with agency of record R/GA Chicago on The Big Match.

Cars.com

The campaign drew some inspiration from Tide’s efforts during Super Bowl LII, as Cars.com will react to TV ads during the Big Game in real-time, with creative of its own, whether or not those spots feature vehicles.

Cars.com senior director of brand marketing Seth Goldberg said the living room (its version of a war room) will have about 40 people from Cars.com, R/GA Chicago and Twitter on hand to respond to events during the game, TV ads and social activity by other brands.

Goldberg said the company recognized that people watching big events like the Super Bowl are interacting on social networks, mostly via mobile devices, so Cars.com took a digital-first approach using paid media, organic media and search-engine marketing, calling it, “the most efficient and targeted way to reach people who are talking about that game in that moment and interject a story about Cars.com.”

The Big Match positions Cars.com as a matchmaker in the automotive category, as Goldberg pointed out that 70 percent of people who come to its site are undecided about which makes and models they want to shop for.

Prior to the game, Cars.com will build excitement for its campaign via social media. During the game itself, Facebook and Twitter will do the heavy lifting. And postgame, Goldberg said The Big Match will show up in relevant ways across platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google.

He added, “Dealers are spending money with us. They want to know that we’re out there driving people to our site in new and innovative ways.”

R/GA Chicago vice president and executive creative director A.J. Hassan said, “We’re all about leaning into Cars.com’s purpose of matching people with their perfect car, and the cars that show up on the Super Bowl are sure to make sparks fly for millions. We’re just out to have some fun and help make those matches happen.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev is complementing its TV spots during the Big Game with mobile-first create it developed for Facebook and Instagram.

The beverage giant used Instagram Stories to tout its Super Bowl commercials for Budweiser and Michelob Ultra.

It did the same on Facebook, here and here.

Colgate will run teasers of its Super Bowl LIII ad, featuring Luke Wilson on Facebook and Instagram Sunday, as well as posting Stories linking to the full 30-second spot.

Postgame, Colgate will run in-stream ads featuring the 15-second version of its spot, and related posts will appear on its Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Finally, starting Feb. 11, the company will release creative featuring both Colgate Total and Wilson to drive the campaign’s relevance and emphasize the product benefits of the toothpaste.