Last year, 111 million people watched the Super Bowl in the United States alone.  Research estimates that  “about 60% of people watching the game plan to have a second screen running — whether it’s a laptop, tablet or a smartphone.”  Undoubtedly, a lot of people will be using those second screens to chat about the game on various social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Given this reality, marketers are desperately trying to launch digital campaigns that build buzz on social media channels prior to the game, and that maximize the impact of those $3.5 million Super Bowl ads during and after the event.  Following are five examples of innovative digital campaigns that will run around this year’s game.

(1) VW Star Wars Ads

Last year, automaker Volkswagen capitalized on our collective obsession with Star Wars by running a great ad in which a young boy dressed as Darth Vader tried to control various objects with his mind, Jedi style.  This year, VW has released a viral video of dogs barking the theme to Star Wars as a way of building buzz about its Super Bowl ad prior to its airing.  It has worked – he video (embedded below) has already been viewed over 9,000,000 times on YouTube.

In addition, VW has built a tool on their website that allows you to send a Star Wars themed “Intergalactic Invite” to your game day party to friends and family.

I love the barking dog video, but the “Intergalactic Invite” thing didn’t hold my interest.  Overall though, I’m looking forward to seeing the new commercial.  So mission accomplished.

(2) Coca Cola Polar Bears

Coca Cola has launched a campaign in which its polar bear mascots will host a virtual game watching party, reacting to the game and commercials in real time.  To participate visit, which redirects to a Facebook application that asks people to RSVP for the game watching party.  Coca Cola is donating $1 to the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts to protect polar bears in the arctic for every RSVP.

This particular campaign seems like a bit of a high wire act.  It will either be hilarious or make you cringe.  Not a log of middle ground.

(3) Pepsi  Shazam Integration

Not to be outdone by Coke, Pepsi will run a commercial during the game that features “X Factor USA” winner Melanie Amaro performing the Otis Redding song “Respect.”   To facilitate the selling of the single, viewers can use the Shazam app on their phones to capture audio of the song and then download a free video of the performance.

While interesting, I’m not sure the Shazam integration will be a big hit, as the vast majority of people won’t have the app.  And even those that do have it are unlikely to turn on the app and record the song in time.  Plus, I’m sure video of the performance will be available on YouTube for free anyway, so why bother?

(4) NFL Social Media Command Center

In an effort to better service fans, Super Bowl host city Indianapolis has built a social media command center, where 20 social media experts will “tweet directions to fans in search of parking, direct visitors to Indianapolis’s best attractions, and stand by to provide information in case of a disaster.”   Below is a screenshot of the 2,800 square foot office in downtown Indianapolis that was constructed for the event.

The Social Media Service Line

Given the mobile nature of the people attending the game, this strikes me as a really good idea.  Although I’m not sure they needed the fancy office.

(5) Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Contest

For the last six years, chip maker Doritos has run user-generated ads during the game.  This year the brand is holding an online vote in which site visitors can select from among five finalists, who have already win $25,000 each.  Two of the user generated ads will run during the Super Bowl, along with an ad created by the comedy group the Lonely Island Boys.  The maker of the advertisement that performs best will win $1,000,000.  If the Lonely Island Boys win the money will go to charity.


Perhaps I’m a bit jaded, but to me the concept of user-generated ads feels a bit overdone at this point.  Doritos might have been better off coming up with a  fresh gimmick.

To follow the buzz about the Super Bowl on Twitter, check out our tool Slurp 140.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.