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The Super Bowl Tradition

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. Every year, millions of people gather with family and friends (and way too much food) around the TV to enjoy one of the World’s most popular sporting events. It is much more than just a football game. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, male or female, sports fan or not – the Super Bowl appeals to everybody.

Last night, 106 million people tuned in to watch the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two legendary teams dueling it out for football’s holy grail.

But for the non football fan, it is much more than that. Christina Aguilera sang – butchered – the national anthem, while The Black Eyed Peas, Usher and even Slash performed during the legendary half time show. And don’t forget about those commercials – people love Super Bowl commercials. It’s funny, our generation hates television commercials. Normally we mute the TV, or use the break to go to the washroom and then grab a snack. And now, with on-demand programming, PVR’s and online streaming, we avoid TV commercials at all cost. But not on Super Bowl Sunday. You wouldn’t dare miss those commercials, right?

30 Seconds will cost you $3 Million

That’s right. $3 million for a 30 second TV spot during the Super Bowl, making it the most coveted advertising space of the year. To put that in perspective, an ad running on an average night would usually cost an advertiser somewhere between $100,000 and $500,000. The usual suspects – Bud LightDoritos and  Pepsi – were at it again with their typical comedic ads featuring dumb guys doing dumb things – and hot girls being hot. That was to be expected.

I was however a little surprised to see a few new faces in the mix – including group buying sites Living Social and Groupon, as well as SalesForce’s new Social Networking site Chatter.com. These companies all spent millions of dollars to be showcased in television’s ultimate spotlight. That’s a winning strategy, right? You’d hope so.

And the Winner of Super Bowl XLV is…

While the Green Bay Packers held on for the 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the actual game, the real winner on the day was Facebook. That’s right folks, Facebook. Mitch Joel predicted this last week on his blog – and he was spot on. Yes I know, there was no TV ad with Mark Zuckerberg telling you to go get yourself a profile or to go ‘like’ him. But that’s the thing – he doesn’t need to. You’re already there. It was every other company telling you to go to Facebook. They were spending millions of dollars to promote their brand, while name dropping Facebook. “Like us on Facebook!” “Find us on Facebook!” “Check us out at Facebook.com/BudLight!” Does it get any easier for Facebook?

I bet Mark Zuckerberg was sitting comfortably on his couch watching the game last night with a little smile on his face, counting how many times his company’s name was not only mentioned – but promoted by every other brand out there. I would also bet that the Winklevoss brothers cringed every time they heard that word last night – “Facebook” – and it probably happens to them several times every day. Either way, Zuckerberg has made Facebook what it is today – the place to be. Seven years later, it is still cool. And the beauty of it is that Facebook did not pay a dime for any of this publicity. That’s how you get free Super Bowl advertising.

Mercedes Benz Also Wins

First time Super Bowl advertiser, Mercedes-Benz, may have had the best Social Media Super Bowl campaign of all. Using both Facebook and Twitter, Mercedes launched what they called the World’s first Twitter-fueled race, with the winner taking home a brand new 2012 C-Class Coupe. Four teams of two traveled 1400 miles to Dallas from their respective cities (Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and New York City) during which they accumulated points for their Twitter followings and by completing other Social Media challenges. Whichever team arrived in Dallas with the highest score was declared the winner – and new owner of that 2012 C-Class Coupe. Since the race was announced, Mercedes’ Facebook fan base has more than tripled to over 85,000, and their Twitter account now has 73,000 followers. Furthermore, Mercedes’ YouTube videos for the race has received over 1.8 million views. Social Media win.

An Average Joe’s take on Social Media

Working in the industry I am so immersed in Social Media in my everyday life. So of course I noticed every time Facebook was mentioned – as well as the ads for Living Social, Groupon and Chatter.com. But did the average viewer notice? I watched the game at a friend’s house with some buddies I went to high school with. Just a bunch of average 20-something year old guys that that love beer and wings – and do not work in the industry. I was curious to hear their take on Social Media. So I not only kept my Social Media ears open on the TV – but on them as well. What did I notice?

Well first of all Facebook was me mentioned in our conversation a lot – and often as a verb. “Hey Greg” one guy said, “Did you see that video? I’ll Facebook it to you.” The same guy went on to tell me that he ‘likes’ Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive End Brett Kiesel’s beard on Facebook. So do about 30,000 other people. Yeah you heard me, his beard. During the third quarter another friend looked up from his iPhone, laughed and told the group that his Facebook News Feed was littered with comments about how bad the half time show was. Amazing, right? 7 years ago (right around the time of Facebook’s birth) the conversation would have been much different. Do you remember Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004? Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”? Well it was talked about quite a bit on TV, as well as between friends and coworkers the next day. But not on Facebook. Or Twitter. Imagine if that would have happened in 2011?

Then we saw Groupon’s controversial ad. It got a pretty good laugh from the guys, but they didn’t really get what Groupon was. “Huh? What is this site? I don’t get it.” So I explained it to them. “Oh, cool!” they exclaimed. You’re welcome Groupon. And then finally the ad for Chatter.com was shown. My roommate (who is not on Twitter) said “Ha! Looks like a Twitter rip off!” Another guy chimed in “Did you guys see what Ike Taylor tweeted before the game?” It was nice to hear what others had to say about Social Media. What they liked, what they didn’t like. Who they follow on Twitter and ‘like’ on Facebook. What they know and what they don’t know.

So as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, the football game, Facebook won Super Bowl XLV – the advertising game.