Social media is now influencing one of the biggest advertising frenzies of the year. Superbowl ads.

With an estimated 93 million pairs of eyeballs on the screen, including my own, FOX was able to demand an average of $2.7 million for each 30 seconds of advertising air time during the game. We’re talking big dollars and it draws some of the biggest advertising spenders around.

Brands such as Budweiser, Toyota, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Tide, FedEx, Brigstone, Taco Bell, and Gatorade came out to try to reinforce their products in consumer’s minds. The obstacle they all face is getting their brands to stick in our minds after their 30 sec or 1 minute slot is done.

Humor is one tried and true approach. Driving home after the game, Gorgeous and I talked about the ads and which ones stuck in our minds. She thought FedEx did a good job with their pigeon pitch. Being more of a web based guy I kinda liked E-Trade’s barfing baby (sorry mom) and clown creepiness.

You can check out all the ads on the official FOX Superbowl ad MySpace page.

Social Media & Doritos

Doritos, no stranger to Superbowl ad spending, tapped into the social media scene in addition to their attempt at humor. In order to get people to actively participate and extend their brand awareness beyond the confines of one commercial, Doritos held a “Crash the Superbowl” contest.

The idea was to let social media communities choose who would be featured in their Superbowl commercial. Pretty gutsy move turning your $6 million+ marketing campaign over to an unruly mob, at least to some ways of thinking. But think about how many more people were exposed to the brand beyond the 93 million who watched the game.

A quick search of the contest and we can find people talking about it on MySpace, Yahoo, Digg, and bunches of blogs.

If you search Doritos +Superbowl on YouTube you’ll get nearly 400 videos to choose from including the commercial they ran with the winner here.

When that commercial ran some folks at the party where I was watching the game said something to the effect of, “she sings well but that was kind of a dumb commercial.” I didn’t explain to them that, unlike most of the other commercials we were watching, that particular spot was far more than just the minute that was on the screen. Wasn’t a good time. (Besides they were Patriots fans.)

There were weeks of anticipation and participation by thousands of people before that commercial even hit our TV screen Sunday night.

But there’s more to the story.

Layers of Social Media

In fact one of the factors that propelled Kina Grannis to winning that contest is that she had previously published a video on YouTube with a song about the social media site Digg. The song was popular enough with the Digg community that she has given the unofficial title of “Digg Girl”.

Here’s that video.

It’s pretty good, actually.

The Digg community rallied around one of their own to help her come out on top and win the contest.

So not only do we have a company (Doritos) tapping into social media to market their product, but we also have a social media community (Digg) exerting their influence to help choose the contest winner.

To sum up, in the words of John Carcutt

Still not convinced about Social Media? This should change your mind. If not, give up because you’re not going to get it in time.

Think about that next time you hear someone tell you social media is not for business.


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