Extending a “Super” Campaign Through Social Media

Advertising is all about reach and frequency – how many people you can reach and how many times. The Super Bowl packs an enormous punch when it comes to viewers. Last year’s game has the distinction of being the most-watched television program in U.S. history.

In case that’s not enough punch, a recent poll revealed that 27 percent of viewers watch the game primarily for the commercials. Companies spend $3.5 million for a 30-second spot, not to mention the production costs of the spot. It’s a high-cost, high-reward proposition; and until now, it had largely been a one-time shot for the advertiser. Now brand marketers are finding that supporting the ads with a low- to no-cost social media campaign can both extend reach and frequency.

Last year Volkswagen’s The Force commercial was one of the biggest Super Bowl hits. VW is capitalizing on that momentum this year, first with a teaser campaign called The Bark Side that features a canine rendition of the Imperial March from Star Wars. The teaser video alone has more than 10 million views on YouTube. Then, just four days before the big game, the actual ad appeared online. The Dog Strikes Back ties into both The Bark Side and The Force and does a fantastic job of allowing people to start a conversation anticipating the actual appearance of the ad within the game on Sunday.

Honda is betting that some 25 years after its release, the iconic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will still have enough pop culture power to get people talking about star Matthew Broderick’s sick day adventures around LA in his Honda CR-V. Although the CR-V may not come close to your best friend’s dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250 California, the two-minute video debuted on YouTube early in Super Bowl week and quickly accumulated more than 3 million views.

Giving viewers a chance to see a spot early by extending a campaign in social media outlets allows people to feel they’ve been let into a special group with a different and closer relationship to a brand. So, even if you aren’t buying Super Bowl ads, you can exponentially extend the reach and frequency of any campaign through social media.

– Shawna Samuel, account vice president
– Tom Heapes, senior communications consultant

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