10 Super Bowl Ad Campaigns That Rocked Social Media


Catch any of the Super Bowl last night? I mean the football game and not the commercials you have been anxiously waiting for all year. The Super Bowl may be the biggest time of the year for football fanatics, but believe it or not, sports fan or not, you may find yourself glued to the TV watching the latest and greatest commercials from our favorite brands.

A recent study by market research company Lab42 shows that 39% of respondents look forward to the commercials more than the football game. That's 44% of women and 41% of men according to the study. So what makes these commercials so much more appealing than other times of the year?

The Super Bowl commercials have changed with the times to not just be disruptive advertisements but to be opportunities for companies to engage with their fans. More than ever this year, brands didn't just spend time and money ($4 million on a 30 second commercial to be exact) on creating the commercials, but creating social and inbound marketing campaigns to engage their audiences even before airing the commercials. Here are 10 companies who got it right and did a thorough campaign all the way from incorporating social media to airing the commercial on Super Bowl Sunday.

Lincoln's Steer the Script

To kick off their Steer the Script campaign, Jimmy Fallon tweeted to his fans asking for them to help Lincoln Motor Company with their Super Bowl commercial.

Thousands of people began to respond by using the #SteerTheScript commercial. They told him their personal stories of going on road trips, and Fallon used this information to create a Super Bowl commercial. This commercial marks the first time that any commercial sourced information for an advertisement from Twitter. Lincoln and Fallon highlight different Twitter users in the campaign and talk about the experiences they had on road trips and the opportunities customers could have with their Lincoln automobile.

Why does this work?

Marketers constantly need to create content. Instead of looking online for something to write about, consider using your social media audience as a source of your information or data. Twitter has a great ability to spread news, but not enough marketers use it to create content. Consider incorporating this tactic the next time you have to write a blog post or another form of content.

Doritos' Crash the Super Bowl

Doritos has hosted a successful contest for the Super Bowl for the last seven years in which they ask people to create a 30 second Super Bowl commercial about Doritos, and then allow their audience to vote on Facebook for their favorites. The top two commercials get air time during the Super Bowl, and there are cash prizes for the top five contestants. This year the following two commercials won the contest.

Even though Doritos has held this contest for seven years, people are still excited about it. They are engaging two different audiences by using this contest. First, there are the filmmakers who compete to potentially have a moment of fame when millions of people are watching their commercial. You cannot say that about every time a commercial plays during the year, can you? Then you have the audience who engages with the brand on social media. They are constantly coming back to the Doritos Facebook page to see if their commercial has made it to the next round. You ignite their inner competitiveness even though it isn't actually their commercial.

Why does this work?

As a marketer, if you have a campaign that works successfully and you can use it again, definitely do it. Many annual campaigns do not get old, and your audience may look forward to it each year. Also consider how you can keep your audience engaged and constantly coming back to your page to see the latest updates. With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, Doritos knows they have to stay front and center to keep ahead of their competition, and by creating an engaging campaign like this, they keep their audience's attention.

Pepsi's #PepsiHalftime Show

You would think Pepsi would stop at just (ha, "just") being the sponsor of the halftime show. Nope, that's not enough. They decided to host a contest on top of planning for the anxiously awaited halftime show performance by Beyoncé. The contest asked viewers to submit photos of themselves in different dance poses using the hashtag #PepsiHalftime, and they could win a chance to either be shown in the countdown commercial leading up to the Super Bowl, or even a chance to be on stage with Beyoncé. The contest ended on January 19, but they continued to post footage on YouTube of her rehearsals and glittered the homepage of Pepsi with tweets of people still using the hashtag.

Why does this work?

With a rockstar like Beyoncé as the face of Pepsi's sponsorship, you would think they wouldn't need to add another element to the campaign. But Pepsi recognizes that their marketing needs to be focused on the people who really matter - their customers. Having an additional campaign that engages their customers on social media while making them the rockstars of the night allows Pepsi to engage with their audience and also keep them excited about the brand.

Audi's Prom Commercial

Similar to some of the other companies, Audi used a contest to promote their commercial. But they took to YouTube instead of some of the other social media platforms. In their contest, they asked viewers to vote for their favorite ending for the commercial. They produced three different options but wanted their audience to decide what should make it to the Super Bowl.

Why does it work?

Have you ever been in a movie and wish you could have picked another ending? Maybe have the couple not end up together in the end? Audi gives its fans the chance to make that decision, even if it's just for a 60-minute commercial. They are trying to give their audience the message that they can make decisions, whether it's buying an exciting new Audi or simply picking the ending to a Super Bowl commercial. The final commercial has over 5 million views, and the campaign has been a huge success.

Coca Cola's Chase

There's nothing like a cliff hanger, right? Coca Cola did not release their full commercial early this year like many other companies but instead decided to show the beginning of it. They ask viewers to vote for who they think will win the race that's depicted in the commercial in what they are calling the Coke Chase.

Why does this work?

Coca-Cola has a lot to compete with since their top competitor has Beyoncé on their side for the halftime show. But if you take a look at Coca-Cola's Facebook page, it is full of back stories of all the characters in the commercial, making it more exciting to decide who to vote for. Normally when there is voting that goes on, that's the entirety of the campaign, but Coke takes it an extra step to give its viewers more excitement and engage with them in the meantime. One of the posts on Facebook has up to 18,000 likes and others have between 40-60 comments. Their audience is clearly engaged beyond just watching the commercial.

GoDaddy's Big Idea Campaign

In past years, GoDaddy has had campaigns that make you stop and think, "What does this have to do with GoDaddy?" or even "What does GoDaddy even do?" But this year, they've taken a different approach. Their Super Bowl commercial is only a small part of a much larger campaign.

The commercial brings you to a website that lets you search for your next Big Idea.


Then you can search for an available URL and find out instantly if it is available. If it isn't available, they give you a list of other options to consider.


Why does this work?

Unlike other years, GoDaddy's campaign specifically relates to their business model. The website makes it easy for them to find out what idea they can turn into a business. Additionally, their social media profiles are constantly using the hashtag #YourBigIdea to encourage promotion of the campaign but also others to discuss their ideas with each other using the hashtag.

Budweiser's Rescue Dog Campaign

Some of the most popular alcohol commercials include the Super Bowl Budweiser commercials. They have been funny, they have used sex appeal, but this year they are going to tug on your heart strings a bit (while still being funny). Budweiser has partnered with Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation in their latest Super Bowl commercial.

What the commercial doesn't tell you is that Budweiser is having a marketing campaign that goes far beyond the Super Bowl commercial. For every like they get on their Facebook page, they will donate $1 to Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation. The commercial even plugs adopting rescue dogs.

Why does this work?

Instead of doing just another Super Bowl commercial that focuses on drinking beer, Budweiser is incorporating a non-profit into the campaign that will really touch people's hearts. Additionally, they have a social media campaign component that will get their audience engaged with the campaign and even checking back to see the progress of how much will be donated to the organization.

Nabisco's Put the Party in Play

Nabisco recognized that a commercial alone on the Super Bowl would not cut it this year. So instead they decided to produce a ton of content that would be used to help people celebrate the Super Bowl. They published a website called Put the Party in Play that provides recipes, various games to play, and dos and don't of hosting a party.


Why does this work?

There are tons of different options people can choose on game day. But by creating content about party planning tips and other fun things to do when hosting a party, Nabisco is helping to make them top of mind for people buying cookies and other treats. Nabisco is truly following the rules of inbound marketing and not just depending on a commercial to boost their status in the minds of their audience but creating content to really help out their audience and draw them into the campaign.

Pizza Hut's HUT HUT HUT

To stand out this year, Pizza Hut decided to gather user-generated content for their Super Bowl commercial. So this year the entire 30-second commercial is a compilation of videos that viewers sent in to Pizza Hut. The only ask from Pizza Hut was that people pretend like they are the quarterbacks in a football game saying "hut," which they are claiming is actually a shout-out to Pizza Hut.

Why does this work?

Pizza Hut took an out of the box approach by asking viewers to submit content for their commercial instead of creating it themselves. The theme of the commecials is extremely catchy and easy for their audience to create. It is a win-win for Pizza Hut because not only will their commercial garner success from viewers seeing regular people like themselves on TV, but it was top of mind when the quarterbacks in the Super Bowl also said "hut."

Toyota's Wish Granted

Toyota's commercial may seem like a typical ad from the outside - releasing just a commercial ahead of the Super Bowl, but really there was a larger Twitter campaign that went on to promote the spot. When Toyota announced their Super Bowl ad starring Kaley Cuoco, they also announced the hashtag #WishGranted.

Toyota also transformed the branding on their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube pages as a way to kick off the new brand marketing campaign.


They have over 12 million views with 11.8 million views coming in before the Super Bowl.

Why does this work?

Hiring Kaley Cuoco for the Toyota campaign definitely helps, but it isn't the reason marketers should look toward Toyota as an example. Toyota is a great example of a successful marketing brand, shaping their entire social media platform to be a part of the campaign. Wherever you go whether it is the website or other social media platforms, you know about Toyota's campaign and it truly shows especially through their successful YouTube views.

What other Super Bowl campaigns did you see that made effective use of social media?

This article was written by Rachel Sprung, Brand & Buzz Coordinator at Hubspot.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 4-13   Click to Comment   
Topic: Social, Super Bowl 2013