Carefully Crafted on January 31

The Super Bowl and Social Media: What to Watch For

Did you catch Honda’s Matthew Broderick-Ferris Bueller Super Bowl commercial? Some people believe Broderick sold out, while others see the commercial as a hilarious update on an iconic movie character. Either way, with more than 3 million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours, Honda has kickstarted the online conversation and sparked early buzz — around the water cooler and the internet.

This is just one way social media is impacting the Super Bowl watching experience. In fact, according to Shiv Singh, global head of digital for Pepsico Beverages, “Social TV is a massive phenomenon and a critical element of our Super Bowl campaigns.” With 60% of Super Bowl watchers expected to have a second screen — smartphone, laptop or tablet — running, advertisers are hoping to cash in on this massive, captivated audience.

What to Watch For

  • The Super Bowl itself — for the first time — has taken a proactive approach to social media engagement and monitoring, leading a Forbes columnist to dub this the “Social Bowl.” From a “get connected” card available at the airport, to a 24-hour, 50-person command center, the Super Bowl host committee is going all out, using social media to deliver a better fan experience during the pre-game festivities and the game.
  • Is “checking in” going mainstream? Last year, location-based-service Foursquare experienced a record-setting number of check-ins to the world’s largest, virtual Super Bowl party. This year, social TV app GetGlue, a service that encourages “checking in” for entertainment has partnered with NBC to create a special Super Bowl-sticker (there’s even a Coming Soon sticker if you check in early).
  • Shazam, which began as a “name that tune”-type app, has been downloaded more than 175 million times. And, it seems poised to be the darling app of Super Bowl advertisers. Shazam recently reported that up to a third of all Super Bowl ads will be “shazam-able.” When viewers shazam an ad, they’re directed to a “branded interaction” — presumably some kind of premium mobile content. The company reports Shazam Social TV campaigns “deliver a 350 percent increase in engagement over ads with a social call to action such as ‘Fan us on Facebook’ or ‘Follow us on Twitter.'” (If you  haven’t downloaded Shazam, make sure you get it before Sunday’s game.)
  • Coca Cola’s lovable polar bears will watch — and react — to the Super Bowl game and ads in real time. According to Mashable,

“The two animated bears, one sporting a red scarf signaling his support of the New York Giants, the other wearing a blue and grey scarf for the New England Patriots, will be featured in a microsite, CokePolarBowl.com, that will show their reactions to the game. If the Patriots score a touchdown, for instance, the Patriots bear might raise his hands for the touchdown sign, while the Giants bear will hold his head in his hands.”

  • But, the big question remains: Which brands will truly embrace the two-way opportunities inherent in social TV by interacting, responding and encouraging conversations from their own social channels during the game? If companies encourage viewers to connect via Facebook and Twitter, I hope the brand’s social media team will interact with people throughout the game, whether it’s about their commercial(s), the game or other related topics.

When it comes to social media and the Super Bowl, what are you most looking forward to? Share your predictions in the comments.
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