The Super Bowl Turned Social Bowl

The awesome power of the National Football League will be on display this weekend, and every company is trying to jump on this steed and ride it to money and success. Early predictions have this year's Super Bowl breaking the record for most watched television show in history, besting the previous record also set by a Super Bowl.

The awesome power of the National Football League will be on display this weekend, and every company is trying to jump on this steed and ride it to money and success. Early predictions have this year’s championship breaking the record for most watched television show in history, besting the previous record also set by a Super Bowl.

It is truly a confluence events that has companies salivating. Two of the most popular, storied, and public teams in the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are playing each other with no shortage of stars, both attractive and controversial. What’s more, with an impending lockout, fans more than ever are looking to get the most out of every football moment and every game, fearing a season lost as owners lock out the players. And of course, one more item that makes this game incredibly popular is how it has embraced, directly and indirectly, the use of social media.

Mercedes-Benz is riding Twitter to the Super Bowl and plenty of advertising.
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This year, more than any other in history, Facebook and Twitter will be playing a central role in marketing and advertising. It goes beyond just the NFL, which has 2.4 millions fans on Facebook, and nearly two million followers on Twitter. A survey by Lightspeed Research suggests that nearly two-thirds of those watching the game in the key demographic, 18-34, will utilize a smart phone. With such a device, advertisers are hoping fans will go to their websites and discuss commercials through text, email, Twitter, Facebook, and any other medium.

Among the many companies that look to profit off using social media is Mercedes-Benz USA, who is nearing the end of a seven-week Twitter campaign four teams of two people drive to the Super Bowl from different places in the U.S., commandeering a Mercedes-Benz and promoting the company with followers on Twitter. Tweets have become in essence, fuel, and followers will be the driving force behind the car.

Still others have their own ideas. Coca-Cola offered to donate $1 to charity for every twit-pic promoting Coke during the Tweet Race. Meanwhile Frito-Lay will look to again create user-generated commercials for Doritos, this year joining with Pepsi in the endeavor. Then there is Visa, who spent a pretty penny to sponsor the hashtag #SuperBowl. Audi will air an ad during the first break containing a hashtag so viewers can follow discussions about the ad on Twitter.

Other companies have attempted to create buzz around upcoming commercials, as if they were a TV show returning from break. Budweiser aired serial commercials during the AFC and NFC Championship games, ending on ‘to be continued…’ Since then they have teased users on Facebook, fostering guesses on the outcome. The finale won’t be aired during the game, but instead online after the event. E-Trade has ramped up hype for their spot, one featuring a sarcastic baby, by advertising on YouTube days before the Super Bowl and having their infant ‘star’ preview the match up.

Football fans will get more of Faith Hill during the Super Bowl
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Singer Faith Hill, who is no stranger to football fans, will be in an ad for Teleflora, a flower company, during the game. That commercial will among other things, direct viewers to an iPhone and iPad app. Volkswagon meanwhile will be doing a YouTube blitz of their ads after the game, as well as a takeover of the mobile site for ESPN.

For fans of the sport, there will always and only be the football game. For others, the spectacle of the event will also involve unprecedented interaction between people around the world watching the same event. And then for some, those will hyperactive brains, the ability to multitask, and unbridled enthusiasm towards social media, there will be a day-long lovefest with interactive media, self-promotion, and the future of capitalism. Never have Vince Lombardi’s famous words been so apt, yet so perverted; indeed, “What the hell is going on out there?!”