The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and for advertisers, watching teams vie for the Vince Lombardi Trophy is only half the fun. Every year, some of North America’s biggest brands use million-dollar ad space to air some of the year’s most memorable commercials, and last Sunday was no exception. This year’s lineup included a star-studded commercial from Amazon in which Alexa loses her voice, a Dirty Dancing inspired ad from the NFL in which Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. recreate Baby and Johnny’s iconic lift, and Tide’s “It’s Another Tide Ad” starring Stranger Thing’s David Harbour, which made every Super Bowl ad a Tide ad.
These multi-million-dollar Super Bowl spots never fail to create buzz, but it is the ads with great supporting social media strategies that stand out and resonate with audiences long after the stadium empties. These are the social strategies we think won Sunday’s big game.
Amazon’s Social Media Influencer Strategy
When it comes to promoting products to the masses, social media influencers pack a powerful punch—especially when they’re celebrities like Cardi B, Rebel Wilson, Gordon Ramsay, Leslie Jones, JB Smoove and Anthony Hopkins who were all featured in Amazon’s Super Bowl spot “Alexa Loses Her Voice.” Each of these big-name celebrities have massive social followings, and Amazon did a great job of using each celebrities’ online platforms to amplify their Super Bowl campaign online.
The week leading up to the big game, each celebrity took to social media to share a video of themselves unboxing the Amazon Alexa headsets they’d be wearing in the upcoming Super Bowl ad. This influencer amplification strategy created awareness and excitement around Amazon’s game day spot and extended the campaign’s reach to audiences beyond the Super Bowl.
Skittles Live Stream Strategy
Skittles stole the live stream show this Super Bowl Sunday, with an entire campaign built around the fact that only one Skittles fan, 17-year old Marco Mendez, would get to see their Super Bowl ad. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Skittles released a video announcing their plan to show the Super Bowl ad to only one person. They followed it up with four 30 second clips in which David Schwimmer teased the ultra-exclusive Super Bowl ad with the tagline, “you’re probably wondering if this is a scene from the Skittles Super Bowl ad that only one person will ever see.
The candy brand live streamed Mendez’s reaction to their Super Bowl ad during Sunday’s big game and, while the live stream itself only got 49K views, the stunt generated enough PR and online conversation to make it well worthwhile. Plus, Skittles saved a couple million dollars by opting out of the typical Super Bowl ad buy.
Doritos and Mountain Dew’s Social Engagement Strategy
Doritos and Mountain Dew went toe to toe in a lip-sync rap battle featuring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman. Dinklage represented Doritos Blaze and rapped Busta Rhymes’ verse from “Look at Me Now,” while Freeman represented Mountain Dew Ice and rapped Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On.”
To bring the campaign to life online, the two snack brands asked fans to pick sides using the hashtags #SPITFIRE or #ICECOLD on Instagram and Twitter. They also created a Snapchat lens that let fans record themselves rapping like Dinklage or Freeman. The two strategies engaged the millions of fans holding mobile devices while watching the big game and successfully brought the campaign from big screen to small screen.
If there is one thing we took away from this year’s Super Bowl, it’s that big brands are no longer relying solely on TV spots to advertise. More and more, they are leaning on social media to compliment and amplify their messages. Social media will continue to play a vital role in the world of advertising as brands evolve and find creative ways to amplify their message on social. As digital marketers, it’s exciting to watch and take part in the every-changing world of social media.