Training for the Social Media Super Bowl- Guest Post: Kaitlyn Nakagoshi, The University of San Francisco

Training for the Social Media Super Bowl

With the playoffs over and Super Bowl Sunday drawing near, many fans are looking forward not only to watching two great teams square off, but to the entertainment value of this year’s commercials. What better time to reflect on last year’s Super Bowl advertising winners and losers and to speculate on what advertisers will bring to the playing field?

MVPs and Benchwarmers

The 2011 Super Bowl had its share of memorable spots, both good and bad. The clear MVP was Volkswagen’s “The Force” campaign. The 60-second spot went viral before kickoff and Volkswagen capitalized on the momentum by sharing the spot with a link on their Twitter account during game time. This standout commercial won by striking the right balance between funny, cute, and memorable.

Contrasting “The Force” was social site Groupon’s disastrous strategy of mocking public service announcements. This campaign could be the biggest offensive fumble in Super Bowl ad history. One segment featured Timothy Hutton making light of the demise of the Tibetan culture and the destruction of their environment. Other spots made fun of saving whales and the destruction of Brazil’s rainforest. Groupon’s ads should have been benched for this personal foul. Let’s hope Groupon learned its lesson and steps up its game for 2012.

Super Social

During the Packers-Steelers face off many brands combined social media campaigns with their Super Bowl ads in an effort to leverage the best of both traditional and new media. Perennial Super Bowl favorites like Budweiser, Pepsi, and Doritos were joined by Mercedes, Audi, and Sketchers with social media tie-ins. Most of these brands turned to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube in an effort to not only increase customer engagement but also retain it, once the big game was over.

Budweiser used Facebook to allow their fans to choose which ad would be shown during the game. Doritos teamed up with Pepsi and took things a step further by allowing fans to vote on ads created by fellow fans. The winner was rewarded with the air time. Mercedes gave away two cars during its Twitter-fueled race while Audi focused on generating – and measuring – buzz with its branded Twitter hashtag. Sketchers relied on a popular celebrity, Kim Kardashian, to move people to its Facebook page.

Tradition Meets Trendy

With 111 million viewers, Super Bowl XLV was the most-watched television show in American history. This was the second year in a row that Super Bowl viewership has set this record. The average cost of a 30-second spot for Super Bowl XLV was close to $3 million, a cost advertisers were willing to bear to access millions of viewers. Fifty percent of those viewers tuned in solely to watch the commercials, so the hefty price was well worth it. With the ever-increasing costs of Super Bowl advertising, many marketers are using social media tie-ins to maximize their return on investment. Coordinating social media campaigns with traditional television media gives advertisers a way to gain additional exposure for their brand, increase and engage their fan base, and ensure that there is life before and after the NFL champions are determined.

How Will Super Bowl XLVI Ads Entertain and Engage Us?

The past couple of Super Bowls haven’t produced as many memorable ads as previous years, leading to speculation on what advertisers will do with their 30 to 60 seconds this year. This year brings some new advertisers to the game who will hopefully raise the bar by doing something fresh and unexpected. While some advertisers like Volkswagon and Lexus have put out teasers to give viewers a sneak peek of their 2012 ad, others have kept their ad campaign on the hush. Regardless, viewers will tune in by the millions to see which commercials capture their attention and are worthy of Monday morning conversation. We can fully expect that Twitter will be a buzz and the most successful commercials will go viral on YouTube within minutes. The question is – which ad campaign will walk away with a “W”, and more importantly, which team? – the New England Patriots or the New York Giants?

This guest post was written by Kaitlyn Nakagoshi of  the University of San Francisco’s higher education program, which offers a social media certification program online through their internet marketing courses. One of only 28 Jesuit Catholic colleges in the country and the oldest university in San Francisco, USF offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as people and professionals, and the values and sensitivity necessary to be men and women for others. For more information on the online program please visit


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