Automakers Revving-Up for Social Media Super Bowl

by Jason Mollica on February 4, 2011

The Super Bowl is known as much for the commercials as it is for the actual game. But, it’s also beginning to be an advertising contest played via social media.  This year, it will see some powerful names entering the fray.

In December, automakers Mercedes-Benz and Audi announced they would be holding social media contests leading up to the Feb. 6 game in Dallas.

Pepsi set the standard last year when it launched the cause marketing initiative, called the Pepsi Refresh Project.   People were encouraged to vote on the best cause marketing idea, with Pepsi giving away millions in grants each month.  It has been a huge success.

Mercedes-Benz says they are using the 2011 Super Bowl to jump into the social media pool.  According to Stephen Cannon, marketing vice president at Mercedes-Benz, who spoke to the USA Today, “It’s our strategic leap of faith.” Mercedes’ promotion, titled “Tweet Race to the Big Game,” will award two new cars to a two-person team that gets the most tweets, Facebook “likes” by the day of the game.

Audi, meanwhile, announced on Feb. 2 that its contest is in conjunction with a Super Bowl TV spot.  The automaker

is claiming that their use of a hashtag (“#ProgressIs”) will be the first time one is used in a Super Bowl ad.

According to Mashable, viewers who use the hashtag and the URL in tweets will be entered into acontest with the grand prize of a trip to Sonoma, Calif., for a test drive of the Audi R8 later in February. Audi will also give $25,000 to a charity on behalf of the grand prize winner.

Will these contests be a success? Well, there are risks regardless of brand or company size.  Your plan needs to have a step-by-step breakdown of what you are doing, who it will target, and when it will hit.  Both Audi and Mercedes have obviously been thinking this out.

In today’s world, it’s no longer about “just TV ads.” You need to be in the social space to talk to current and new customers, as well as brand champions.