We’ve often talked about how traditional forms of advertisements such as TV commercials are no longer effective. People mute them, change the channel, or just don’t pay attention to them. But there’s one magical time of year when that’s not true: the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl Ad phenomenon is truly a stroke of marketing genius. Everyone looks forward to them—even those who don’t necessarily watch football. They’re clever, funny, have high production values, and often feature A-list celebrities. In fact, ads are so widely viewed that 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime this year cost companies about $4 million.
What’s that? You don’t have $4 million lying around to buy Super Bowl airtime for your brand? Well, then, you’re in luck. Because this year, in spite of the huge investments and massive ad campaigns, the companies who generated the most Super Bowl buzz were the ones who relied on online content and social media marketing.
Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl
The $4 million price tag on Super Bowl commercials doesn’t include the cost of actually producing the commercial, which can make things much more expensive. Fortunately, Doritos has come up with a brilliant solution: they get their fans to make the commercials for them.
“Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl” has been running since 2006. Every year, independent and amateur filmmakers are invited to submit their own, homemade, 30-second Doritos commercials. The finalists are then posted on the site for fans to vote on, and the winners are shown during Doritos’ 30-second Super Bowl slots. Between user-generated content and fan voting, Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl manages to generate buzz for their brand for months before the game even airs.
SodaStream – Uncensored
It’s evident that SodaStream had an online audience in mind for their ad: in the middle of it, star Scarlett Johansson talks about making the message go viral. And of course, she being one of the most popular stars on the planet, the ad has done just that. But Ms. Johansson wasn’t the only factor in play.
The ad almost wasn’t allowed to air at all. The product, a machine that turns ordinary water into soda that’s cheaper and healthier than store-bought cola, included a brief dig at their competitors at the end of the ad: “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” However, since Pepsi was the sponsor of the halftime show, FOX refused to air it unless SodaStream cut the jab. So they did. Then, they put the original ad on YouTube, labelled “Uncensored.” The controversy and subversive attitude gained the video several million views in just a few days—and again, before the Super Bowl even aired.
While their tactics are certainly impressive, these two brands hardly scratch the surface of the content marketing strategies being used in conjunction with the biggest football game of the year. Tomorrow, we present two more brands who managed to generate incredible Super Bowl buzz online.