A Social Super Bowl.. #fail

By Nicole Fletcher

With the insane explosion of the social sphere over the last year, football and marketing fans alike woke up Sunday morning with lofty expectations for Super Bowl XLV. Like little kids on Christmas morning, many wondered what social wonder would reveal itself during the biggest televised event of the year, or ever as was the case. The hype, I must say, was not worth the wait..not that there was a wait…

Brands including Volvo, Doritos and a few others released their ads days before the Super Bowl and while I understand why, they killed the fun anticipation of the unveil. I’m all for hype, fan interaction, video views etc, but instead of just spilling the marbles all at once, couldn’t they have figured out another way to build the excitement? A campaign or a plan perhaps? Apparently not.

As consumers, socially savvy professionals and beer drinking Americans we still expected a creative and colorful call to action, thereby driving traffic to social networks, increasing consumer interaction and basically boggling our minds. Needless to say, this Social Super Bowl included nothing more than the banal facebook url, twitter icon and social buying commercials from sites like Groupon and Living Social. What was most surprising to me  though is that people were actually impressed by this lackluster icon inclusion. I was not. I think the corporate brands copped out and frankly, it just seemed lazy, haphazard and not well planned out.

Here are some fun stats to illustrate my point. According to Nielsen, a record breaking 111 million Americans sat down Sunday night to take in the game. The second spot goes to last year’s Super Bowl with 106.5 million viewers while M*A*S*H rocked the number one spot before then with 160 million. 30 second time slots top off at $3 million, or $100,000 per second. Yea. Digest that for a moment.

Now, onto more stats. Fan numbers were recorded at 3pm on Sunday before the big game. Then, 29 hours later, to give people enough time to digest, contemplate, interact, etc, fan counts were taken again. As a whole for all Super Bowl advertisers, the number of ‘likes’ went up by a whisper of .19%. Granted, for brands like Coca Cola with their ~22 million fans, .19% can be a sizable increase, but their community went up by less that .1%. Not super solid considering the price tag, the audience and the sizable potential they held in their hands, not to mention that I don’t have stats on Coca Cola’s daily fan increase.

I’m not saying that some of the ads weren’t clever, nor that they were ineffective. I giggled at a few and was entertained in the general sense of the word. I’ll say this though, I have not sought any of them out on youtube to relive the hilarity, nor have I visited any of the brand websites since. I mean if you, cough, GoDaddy want to spend $3 million to get 892 new fans, Party On. I’ll just do what you did for free.

In sum, I wholeheartedly believe that the definition of modern communication, consumer interaction and marketing have changed and as such, classic clever commercials are no longer an option. Be creative people. It’s 2011 and trust me, at $100,000/second, 27 new fans just ain’t worth it (sorry Kia).

Here’s to next year where with any luck, my #(hashtag) will be #awesome.