For lovers of American football, there is no bigger event than the annual championship game called the Super Bowl.
But this isn't just the biggest annual sporting event in the US – it's also become the biggest platform for companies and their advertisers to show off their brands and their skills.
This year, a 30-second advertising spot during the Super Bowl coverage will cost around $3.5 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, that's about US3 cents per viewer, so there is no doubt you are getting plenty of bang for your buck.
But it's not just television advertising – Super Bowl marketing now includes a range of initiatives across internet marketing and social media.
Here are five big trends from Super Bowl marketing in 2012.
The Super Bowl might occur across six hours on a Sunday afternoon, but the advertising build up starts earlier and earlier each year, with many advertisers releasing their advertisements via social media up to two weeks before the game. It's a smart strategy that can greatly increase awareness, but some experts have expressed concern that the further you are away from the actual event the less relevant you become.
Measuring success from a Super Bowl marketing initiative is tough. Is it sales you want? Or brand recognition? Or an ad that goes viral? A senior executive with Coke has given an interesting answer. His company is running a special promotion via an app on Facebook that features animated polar bears (wearing Coke paraphernalia, of course) cheering along with the game in real time.
Here is how Pio Schunker, Coke's SVP for creative excellence, described their measurement strategy: "At the very base level, we will look at tweets, retweets, how much the content is shared, the mentions. [They] are all things we are looking at in terms of reach and impressions... Though this is not about selling Cokes. It's about selling moments of thought." Moments of thought? Wow!
Connect everything to social media
This is of course a growing trend in all types of advertising, but the Super Bowl takes it to another level. This year, chip company Frito Lay is running a competition on YouTube asking consumers to vote on which of the brand's many Doritos advertisements they like best.
Coke's Super Bowl ad, described above, also includes a function where Facebook users can give Coke coupons to friends. A Super Bowl ad might cost a fortune, but a well-placed tweet or post doesn't.
Competitions are always a big part of event marketing and this is a big trend from the 2012 Super Bowl. One of the biggest advertisers this year is Chevy, which has a big television ad campaign and advertisements across other mediums. It is also running a competition through its special Super Bowl iPhone and Android apps, where users who take the trivia quiz in the app can win up to 20 vehicles.
Make it mobile
Chevy provides a good example of the other big trend from the Super Bowl – mobile marketing. A range of companies, including Subway, Coke and Pepsi have either sponsored apps, created apps or tied in with existing apps – the music app Shazam is a great example – to extend their campaigns to the palm of viewers' hands.
Five early Super Bowl ads
As mentioned above, many of the big Super Bowl ads were released well before the game itself. Here are five of the best:
1) Jerry Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi return – Comedian Jerry Seinfeld kicks off a big number of car ads with some old friends.
2) Hyundai's business secret – A car ad with a little small business flavour.
3) Chevy teams up with OK Go – US indie band OK Go released this music video for the Super Bowl. The song is created in, and using, a new Chevy vehicle.
4) Pepsi versus Coke – A new take on the battle between the soft drink giants.
5) Toyota reinvents – Toyota have invested in a 60-second spot for its new Camry.
This article first appeared onSmartCompany on February 6, 2012. Republished with permission.