SBD/January 23, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Coca-Cola Pushes Fan Interaction With '13 Super Bowl Ad; Does Not Include Polar Bears

Coca-Cola hopes to build on its strong showing in last year's Super Bowl with a ’13 ad that gets fans involved via social media and allows them to vote on a commercial to debut immediately following this year’s game. The company yesterday debuted its 60-second “Mirage” spot, which showcases three teams -- a pack of cowboys, a group of “Badlanders” and a troupe of Vegas-style showgirls -- racing through a desert for a giant bottle of Coke. Fans can vote for their favorite group via social media or CokeChase.com now through the end of the game, when the final portion of the ad will air. Coca-Cola will release a 30-second teaser today across all major TV outlets, with a 60-second spot from Wieden + Kennedy debuting nationally during the game’s first half on Feb. 3. Coca-Cola's spot last year drew record numbers, with nearly 9.0 million viewers tuning in to watch a live stream of the brand’s iconic polar bears watching the game in real time. Though last year’s spot was popular, company execs wanted to try a different route in ‘13. Coca-Cola Senior VP/North America Marketing Alison Lewis said that fan engagement was key to the idea of the campaign this year. Lewis said, “Last year it was a much more passive experience where people watched what the polar bears were doing. This year it’s far more active because two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl and during the game we’re asking people to engage and vote on which ending they want to see" (Josh Carpenter, THE DAILY).

SOCIAL CLUB: DIGIDAY.com's Giselle Abramovich noted social media integration is a "huge component" of Coca-Cola's effort. Fans’ actions via social media will "determine how the storyline plays out, and that’s Coke’s shot at active engagement." Real-time updates on the chase and character engagement will "take place on every major form of digital and social media." During the game last year, all Coke "asked people to do was watch the bears watch the games." There was no "call to action to share, or vote, or anything of the sort." This year, there are "all sorts of activities for consumers" (DIGIDAY.com, 1/22).

WAITING TOO LATE? AD AGE's Natalie Zmuda wrote Coke's "post-game strategy could be risky." The Super Bowl audience has been "known to disperse in the past, particularly when the game is seen as a blow-out going into half-time." It is "not clear that the second Coca-Cola ad will even be considered an official 'Super Bowl ad,' as commercials shown after the end of the game typically cost significantly less." Coca-Cola execs said that they were "confident the post-game spot would get the outsize audience they desired." This year marks the "earliest date Coca-Cola has released its Super Bowl creative." It is "hoping most folks watching the Super Bowl will already have seen its 60-second spot before kickoff -- a trend that's been hotly debated in the ad world" (ADAGE.com, 1/22).
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