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Where Ya At, #SB44 Socializers?

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Growing up in New Orleans, I would often hear the phrase “Where ya at?” Chalk it up to that southern gumbo dialect of NOLA, but elsewhere in America the question would be “Where are you?” So I have a question for Super Bowl advertisers in the social media space, where WERE you?  With all the talk of how brands were going to leverage social media with their Super Bowl advertising, they were noticeably absent. Excuse me, not even present. As a result, my approach to this analysis turned out to be a little different than expected.

So one month later, here is my analysis of advertiser’s (lack of) social media presence during the 2010 Super Bowl. And before you get all jumpy about this being a month late to the after-party, there is good cause for my delay. But you’ll learn about that as you read on.

Prior to the telecast, several traditional Super Bowl advertisers put considerable effort into their social spaces. Doritos unveiled their “Change the Game” tab on Facebook that linked to their Madden NFL promotion web site. Coca-Cola teamed up with Facebook to distribute themed virtual gifts and preview its commercials to its fans. Hyundai aired their spots in a custom “The Big Game” tab on Facebook. During the game, some brands such as eTrade (@etradebaby) tweeted about their upcoming commercials. There were a few others, but not a peep was made about any brand’s social media efforts during the actual commercials. So for the average game watcher (remember old Tad?), there was no call to action or push to the social sphere.

In an effort to analyze the lack of participation, I broke down the Facebook and Twitter accounts of four different companies with some link to #SB44: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Doritos and Focus On The Family. Why these accounts? Coca-Cola touted super bowl themed social marketing prior to the game, Pepsi promoted its now-famous lack of Super Bowl 2010 advertising, Doritos achieved some of the biggest buzz for its spots and Focus On The Family was new to the Super Bowl advertising bonanza.

Growth numbers were charted for one month. With social media, it’s not about the initial jump in fans/followers, it’s about keeping and engaging the consumers over time. So instead of giving you some fancy stats right after the big show, here is how these accounts panned out over roughly 30 days, along with some conclusions.

Coca-Cola (@CocaCola)
Before: Fans 4,856,957; Followers 16,079
After: Fans 5,156,602; Followers 17,855
Increase: Facebook 6%, Twitter  11%
Coke touted Super Bowl themed social marketing prior to the game and had zero social media tie-ins with spots that aired during the game. For a big brand such as Coca-Cola, why not go out on the limb? Air a single spot with an interesting reference to the company’s social media presence and build some more brand fanatics. Or establish another account with a different promotion strategy and target a specific audience segment. See where it takes you in the long run. After all, there is unthinkable potential for long-term captive interaction with the consumers living in these social spaces.

The Pepsi Refresh Project (@Pepsi)
Before: Fans 374,099; Followers 17,710
After: Fans 605,983, Followers 21,148
Increase: Facebook 62%, Twitter 19%
Pepsi did not advertise at all during the game and instead used the money for a cause-related digital marketing initiative that included a major presence on Facebook. While they missed out on the largest audience in TV history, Pepsi’s Facebook account more than doubled in size. Sure that’s meager numbers in comparison, but Pepsi is a mega brand and it’s doubtful whether a few million-dollar commercials would have sold more soda. But with this Refresh project, the brand is giving back to many communities and building countless brand ambassadors at the same time.

Doritos (@DoritosUSA)
Before: Fans 764,277; Followers 756
After: Fans 792, 442; Followers 974
Increase: Facebook 4%, Twitter 29%
Doritos unveiled a NFL/EA Sports promotion and football themed social marketing prior to the game. There were zero social media tie-ins during the game. Doritos experienced meager growth within their established social spaces after the game but interestingly enough, several unofficial Facebook Fan Pages sprung up around their most popular Super Bowl commercial. “Keep Yo Hands Off My MAMA and My DORITOS!!” (869,621) and “Keep Your Hands Off My MAMA and My DORITOS!!” (631,463) fan numbers surpass and nearly equal Doritos’ own fan page audience. Lesson? Get there first, think beyond the standard brand strategy and a social presence can take on many forms.

Focus On The Family (@FocusPRTeam)
Before: Fans 17,303; Followers 402
After: Fans 24,782; Followers 497
Increase: Facebook 43%, Twitter 24%
Prior to the game, Focus On The Family had a few Facebook Fan Page status updates about their yet-to-air commercial. There were zero social media tie-ins with spots that aired during the game. For lesser-known brands such as Focus On The Family, this could have been an opportunity to get major bang for their buck. After the game there was a significant increase in their Facebook account numbers, but potential for much more. And for an organization on a tight long-term budget, social media marketing could prove to be especially beneficial in the future.

While social media is not the be all and end all in the future of advertising, it is a rapidly growing sector of the marketing mix. Brands need to understand social media as a key element in brand building and awareness. It’s a place to further engage with consumers, in a place where their consumers are already talking. The opportunities are yet to be fully realized, but organizations won’t get very far without taking some initial big steps.

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