Mercedes-Benz's Super Bowl campaign lifted the brand's Facebook "likes" by 40 percent and increased its Twitter followers by 95 percent. The German carmaker finished first and third, respectively, among Super Bowl advertisers during the last three weeks, according to ClickZ research.
ClickZ began noticing Super Bowl advertisers tease their TV commercials via social channels on Jan. 18; so our team benchmarked the Twitter and Facebook stats for in-game advertisers that were publicly known at the time. (Late entries such as Groupon are not included.) We compared those numbers to data collected at 8 p.m. EST on Monday from the same brand accounts. (See charts.) Not surprisingly, the findings show brands that meaningfully integrated social channels into their overall campaigns received the greatest boost.
|Top 10 Facebook Gains for Super Bowl Advertisers in Last 3 Weeks|
|Brand||"Likes" Before Super Bowl||"Likes" After Super Bowl||Increase|
|2. Lipton Brisk
|4. Pepsi Max
|5. "Cowboys & Aliens" movie
|t8. Best Buy
|t8. Kia Motors
Mercedes-Benz's seven-week "Tweet Race" component to its larger Super Bowl campaign was likely more responsible for the brand's big Facebook and Twitter hikes than its :60 commercial starring Sean "Diddy" Combs. The brand announced "Tweet Race" on Facebook and Twitter in mid-December, and let consumers enter a contest to participate by "liking" it. Mercedes-Benz then selected four two-person driving teams that eventually took off on Feb. 2 for the big game to be played in Arlington, TX. Along their journeys, the teams were challenged to recruit as many Twitter followers and Facebook "likes" as possible for the so-called race.
The company purchased dedicated "Tweet Race" promos on Twitter and Facebook, as well as via ad networks. Facebook users who clicked on those ads were required to "like" the brand to learn more about the event.
Frederic Bonn, executive creative director for Mercedes-Benz's digital agency, Razorfish, said the like-gating strategy - combined with the right content - helped boost the carmaker's Facebook numbers during the Super Bowl campaign. "Setting up that exciting, fun, Twitter-fueled race and getting people to access it by 'liking' the MBUSA Facebook page was definitely part of [the increase]," he said.
The Twitter ads included a Promoted Trend and Promoted Tweet buy on Jan. 24, as well as Promoted Accounts "Who to follow" placements that started running in mid-December. Mercedes-Benz's dedicated Twitter handle for the effort, @MBtweetraceHQ, launched Dec. 13 and accrued around 10,000 new followers per week. On Monday, the brand changed that Twitter handle from @MBtweetraceHQ to the simpler @MBUSA, which will serve as its first offical consumer marketing account.
"We are up to our neck in Twitter," said Stephen Cannon, VP of marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA. "Before this campaign, we weren't."
|Top 10 Twitter Gains for Super Bowl Advertisers in Last 3 Weeks|
|Brand||Followers Before Super Bowl||Followers After Super Bowl||Increase|
|7. Pepsi Max
Bridgestone, which scored the biggest percentage increase in Twitter followers, also holds a nearly virgin account on the micro-blogging site. It was FOX-TV's sponsorship partner for the Super Bowl program's football portion and aired an in-game commercial. During the days before the Super Bowl, the brand ran Promoted Account ads targeting football enthusiasts and people with shown interest in tire products. It also purchased Promoted Tweets for Sunday. The effort increased Bridgestone's followers by 461 percent.
"Twitter is still very new to Bridgestone," said Chris Brashear, interactive marketing specialist for the Nashville-based company. "From a brand standpoint, it was only November-December when we started using the page."
Audi finished 5th on ClickZ's Twitter chart, while also leveraging an integrated Super Bowl campaign. Leading up to the Super Bowl, the brand ran Twitter ads featuring a "#ProgressIs" hashtag, which appeared at the end of Audi's Super Bowl spot. Viewers who used that hashtag and tweeted the campaign URL were entered to win a trip to Sonoma, CA.
Cannon of Mercedes-Benz had this to say about competitor Audi's hashtag-meets-TV-ad play. "That might become a future tactic as we become more and more involved," he said. "Now...Twitter is a viable channel for us to communicate with folks. So we have a content strategy for Twitter and Facebook. If in the future for our [TV] advertising if we want to connect that to Twitter, we'll do that."
Justin Kirstner, social media marketing manager at Webtrends, suggested that hashtags-in-TV-spots could become a trend. "Many ads from the Super Bowl strongly resonated with the public. Those brands missed an opportunity to drive discussion on Twitter using hashtags. Chrysler could have used #importedfromDetroit; Doritos could have used #welovecheese; and, VW could have used #superbeetle or #theforceiswithVW. To further escalate the buzz, those brands could have then sponsored tweets for those hashtags and then also sponsored them as trending topics."
Editor's Note: E*Trade's Twitter numbers combine its "Baby" and "Financial" accounts.
Update: This story's original version reported that Pizza Hut was an in-game Super Bowl advertiser; but the brand only ran a pre-game spot.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
March 19, 2014