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How PR is ‘AD-ed’ To The Super Bowl Equation

By Lisa Schaefer

1682304-inline-1280-super-bowl-2013-see-all-the-spotsThe Super Bowl was a nail biter, but most water cooler conversations continue to center around the must-see ads featured during the breaks.  From Budweiser’s Clydesdale tale (what a tear jerker!) to Amy Poehler’s goofy interaction with a Best Buy salesman, these top trending and most watched Super Bowl commercials didn’t disappoint.

With the spotlight on the ads most people forget about the MVP behind the scenes…PR. Implementing public relations strategies boost the value of the most expensive ad spots of the year and are an integral part of the marketing mix that makes these campaigns successful.

“Teasers” and full-length advertisements released prior to Super Bowl Sunday were a solid tactic used to create hype in advance of game day and bolstered consumer interaction beyond the traditional one-way communication advertising lends. Gone are the days when Super Bowls ads were closely-guarded secrets, with a tight grip on the details up until the “big reveal.” With the growth of social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it’s easier for brands to share content and increase the impact they have on consumers, which is why about half of the 30 Super Bowl advertisers released teaser trailers for their commercials.

The result? Millions of Youtube views, consumer interaction via votes on the “best ad ending” and word-of-mouth marketing. The strategy increased ROI and earned media placements, equating to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A recent Wall Street Journal article quoted Tony Pace, chief marketing officer of Subway, who said Super Bowl ads get a “ripple of media that adds up to enormous value above and beyond the spot itself.”

By integrating various parts of the marketing mix, the brands we love most facilitate conversation, interaction and engagement with consumers. Among brands taking a multi-faceted approach were Coca-Cola and Toyota.

Coca-Cola allowed fans to vote on CokeChase.com for their favorite commercial ending in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. The commercial featured cowboys, motorcycling bad boys and showgirls racing to reach a giant-sized, ice cold Coke bottle in the middle of the desert. Fans saw the winning vote come to life on game day and took pride in their part to help make the decision. Following the 30-second commercial, anyone who liked or followed Coke Chase via Facebook and Twitter were rewarded with additional content, and the first 50,000 people who participated in the Chase received a coupon for a free bottle of Coke as a thank you.

Toyota racked up 11 million views on their co-created “Wish Granted” campaign, in which 3.2 million of the page views were generated from pre-game teaser views. Fans engaged with the car company by submitting photos of themselves on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #wishgranted for the chance of their photo appearing in Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial.

While not every brand’s ad is a winner, implementing thoughtful, engaging PR strategies is a surefire way to score big on Super Bowl Sunday, and to garner a larger impact than traditional advertising can make on its own.

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