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The latter part of 2009 marked a time of massive growth for marketing within the social media space, so it should come as no surprise that advertisers are revving up their social skills when it comes to the grandaddy of all things advertising, 2010’s Super Bowl. Even the NFL has gotten in on the action with #SB44, the official NFL hashtag of Super Bowl 44.

Leading up to #SB44, there has been quite a lot of online buzz about the brands who are going the social media route this year – Pepsi, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Monster etc. But to be quite honest, the people who are buzzing about this topic are the same social media nerds who buzz about social media all year long (myself included).

I’m anxious to see if the brands will make any significant impact in their social media spaces beyond the nerds. And since the Super Bowl is really about mass appeal and making an impression on such a large scale, I’m going to study the social media side of Super Bowl advertising from a casual user’s perspective. This means that I’m not going to over analyze what the big brands are doing before Super Bowl Sunday – not for this case study, anyway.

I’m thinking about my cousin Tad in Tulsa who enjoys watching the Super Bowl for the game and, yeah, a little for the commercials too. He has a Facebook page and has fanned a few official pages, but he’s not out there hunting down his favorite brands. On a whim he set up a Twitter account but he’s only tweeted “Trying to figure this thing out” and “Haha, did you guys see that video?” Tad is definitely not sitting at home trying to see who’s doing what today in prep for their Super Bowl advertising.

So to understand the effect of any impact, I need to do a little Saturday digital sleuthing before #SB44. Consider it a social media nerd’s version of pre-gaming. I’m going to look at the heavy hitters and take note of Facebook Fan counts and Twitter followers and search results. And whatever else I might stumble or digg or delicious upon.

On #SB44 Sunday, in between making a roux for my gumbo and painting my face black & gold, I will casually monitor the social media shout-outs from television. I’m not going to seek out, rather I’ll see what comes my way. The goal will be to keep my head in the game from Tad’s perspective. I want to see if I feel compelled to seek out social media in addition to traditional advertising. I think that will be the best approach to determine if social media marketing will make an impression on the average American.

Then next week, once all of the turf has settled, we’ll meet again to hash over the hashtags and follow up on the followers. I’ll bring my numbers, you can bring your comments and together we’ll see if social media made any impact on #SB44’s advertising prowess.

Oh, and #WHODAT!

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