Posted January 31, 2011 2:21 pm by with 5 comments

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Creating a clever Super Bowl commercial takes time, talent and a lot of money. So in order to make the very most of their investment, Super Bowl advertisers are trying something new this year – using social media to pre-advertise their advertisement.

Bud Light, Audi and HomeAway (?) have all launched Super Bowl ad related campaigns on Twitter and / or Facebook but the one that’s really sparking interest is the Mercedes-Benz push.

The luxury car company is running a “Tweet Race.” On Wednesday, four teams will set out from four major cities on their way to Dallas, Texas, each driving a “specially-outfitted” Mercedes-Benz vehicle. The cars will be “Tweet Powered,” meaning that they’ll gain ground based on the number of Tweets their team receives. Sounds complicated but it also sounds like something people will really get behind.

What’s perplexing to many, is the target audience. Since when is Mercedes-Benz a Twitter kind of product? Jay Baer, of Convince & Convert, called the campaign “down-market.” Or maybe it’s just the company’s attempt at drawing in a younger audience. Surely that’s what Best Buy was going for when they hired Justin Bieber for their Super Bowl commercial. Then again, maybe the guy who decided to pair the mop-top moppet with classic rocker Ozzy Osbourne is an advertising genius. The goal is, after all, to get everyone talking, and this ad has already generated a large amount of press and social media buzz.

What all these companies are doing right, is not putting all of their dollars into one piggy bank. By using social media before, during and after the Super Bowl, they’re turning their 30 seconds of fame into a month-long journey.

Will the Tweet Race result in an uptick in sales at Mercedes-Benz? We’ll probably never know but at least they’re trying some fresh and fun.

  • Jay Baer

    Good post. Thanks for including my quote.

    I don’t have an issue with the MB campaign per se, but I do feel it’s a bit out of character for them.

    I also said in the interview – although not quoted in the piece – that I believe 1000% in campaigns of this nature, because they turn your Super Bowl program from 30 seconds to 3 weeks.

    I disagree with your assertion at the end of the post however. The goal isn’t to get people talking, it’s to sell stuf. And one doesn’t always beget the other.

  • It’s great that some of the super bowl ads are getting super creative..

  • Thanks for this, Cynthia. The Superbowl ads are a thing of glory for advertisers and the budgets have been unthinkable for as long as I can remember ; will social media be the fall of the Superbowl advertising ? Most likely social media will be a supplement to traditional advertising as it is in other spheres ; Doritos has been the best at this in my opinion. It will be interesting to see which commercial they show this year 🙂

    Michelle @Synthesio

  • Not only is the contest fun and interesting, but it drives brand mentions and press. Its getting increasingly difficult to break through the clutter in social media and companies are going to have to be creative to do so.

    I think an important element of this story (something that needs more emphasis) is the promotion may NOT increase sales at Mercedes. Now, some people would say that’s terrible and a waste of money. ROI is king and if a promotion doesn’t generate positive ROI, it shouldn’t be done. What folks forget is promotions build a brand, not just generate sales. Brand building results in long-term growth of sales as consumers buy brands that seem to be “for me”. Much of the work of brand building DOESN”T result in immediate change in ROI, it builds over time. Does that mean firms should chuck the whole idea? Preposterous.

  • Weird, I never would have figured MB would come out with a Twitter based campaign – but there you go!