This was the year that social media and traditional media came together on the Super Bowl field and scored a touchdown.
Campaigns were more integrated this year, with buzz building on Facebook and the web building anticipation for the multimillion dollar on-air campaigns, with an unprecedented number of sneak peeks and teaser campaigns (if not whole spots) posted online before the big game.
Major brand advertisers not only invested in gorgeously produced on-air spots — in the case of Coca-Cola, a Coke Cheers Facebook app and website whetted fans' appetites for the big game (and, naturally, the beverage) with a pro-social initiative that let fans pick their Super Bowl fave, with Coke donating $1 per vote (and then $5 per vote on the eve of the game) to charity — the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
This year's social/traditional hybrid Super Bowl campaigns paid off, with not only the highest-rated TV broadcast in US history, but record-breaking (up 9%, according to Mashable) social media traffic as fans weighed in on Super Bowl brand messaging.
According to the 300,000 tweets monitored by Brand Bowl 2011, Chrysler’s two-minute spot with Eminem in praise of Detroit was the most effective Super Bowl ad this year in terms of social media sentiment.
“Screw the wait-until-game-day strategy. And perhaps even the teasers. If you have something good, let it out of the bag. The conversation, the links, the Facebook posts and the Twitter chatter make it the smarter way to go,” commented Edward Boches, chief innovation officer at Mullen, in a blog post.
Mullen once again partnered with Radian6, the social media tracker, and the Boston Globe's Boston.com for a play-by-play analysis of the Twitter/Super Bowl experience, following viewrers' sentiment during the game with real-time metrics.
The goal was to gauge the most and least effective brands by analyzing more than 300,000 tweets referencing specific brands and brand ads, plus tweets using the #brandbowl hashtag, in order to measure the volume of conversation as well as negative/positive sentiment.
“We’ve reached a point where advertising, even the outbound interruptions, is social," added Boches. "Consumers want to talk about the ads and marketers are starting to realize that the greatest value of their Super Bowl buy is the conversation that takes place online."
Brand Bowl's top Super Bowl XLV ads, ranked by social media mentions in terms of volume and popularity:
4. Pepsi Max
5. Best Buy
6. Lipton Brisk
8. Go Daddy
MOST POPULAR: (Positive Tweets)
MOST TWEETED ABOUT:
Five Least Effective Brands on BrandBowl2011:
As a comparison, Ad Bowl ranked the top Super Bowl 2011 ads as:
1. Volkswagen (The Force)
2. Bridgestone (Carma)
3. Doritos (House Sitting)
4. NFL (Best Fans Ever)
5. Volkswagen (Black Beetle)
6. Doritos (Best Part)
7. Chrysler (Eminem/Detroit ode)
8. Doritos (Pug Attack)
9. Pepsi Max (Love Hurts)
10. Bridgestone (Reply All)
"Social media lets advertisers see the impact of their ads in real time," said Radian6 CMO David Alston. "The top advertisers on the Super Bowl prove how a traditional TV spot can potentially be leveraged on the social web."
Boches posted his top lessons from this Super Bowl, including:
1. Demonstrate a capability rather than advertise it
2. Give something fun, entertaining and useful to your community
3. Avoid being proprietary and controlling the experience
4. Iterate non-stop to make things better.
“Digital is never done. We could have put up the same site we hosted last year. But anything that doesn’t constantly get better gets stale. Users will lose interest and find you disappointing. This year we added a bunch of features including: o-auth, the ability to reply and re-tweet from site, and more robust analytics that included tweets by brand on the stats page. We also developed a mobile friendly site and at the last minute created a downloadable icon,” adds Boches.
SuperBowl XLV goes down in history as the year social media disrupted the drama of analog, linear advertising and replaced it with an ongoing conversation available before, during and after.
Still, not everyone's convinced — Ad Age's Ian Schafer writes "maybe next year" will mark the watershed moment for when the Super Bowl is truly socialized.
What do you think? And if you need a Super Bowl refresher, click here to view all the ads.