The rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers -- or even Head Coaches John and Jim Harbaugh -- is not the only one this Super Bowl Sunday. Beverage giant Coca-Cola is promoting an online ad campaign that features three rivals vying for a drink in the desert -- and it is using fan votes through the end of the game to determine the winner.
The initial ad, which will air during the first half of Sunday's match-up, pits three rivals against each other -- a band of Cowboys, a gang of Badlanders and a pack of Vegas-style Showgirls -- in the quest for a Coke in the aptly named Coke Chase.
Fans can view this 60-second ad, "Mirage," on Coke's website, CokeChase.com and YouTube. After the Cowboys, Showgirls and Badlanders race across the sand, they realize the bottle was not an actual Coke, but instead a billboard promising refreshment 50 miles ahead. The ad ends with the characters gearing up to race further and directing fans to CokeChase.com to cast their votes.
As of Monday, a YouTube video of the ad had 429,000 views.
Also on Monday, the Showgirls appeared to have a narrow lead over the Cowboys.
What's more, once fans vote, they are able to sabotage rival factions in a series of additional videos. An act of sabotage delays rival teams. Fifteen sabotages were filmed -- five adversely affecting each faction. They include a game of Double Dutch, a stoplight, a pizza delivery and a photo opp. Nine will be unlocked prior to February 3. All sabotages will be unlocked on game day.
Following the game, one of three 30-second payoff ads will air to complete the journey based on fan votes. Each of the three 30-second spots depicts a different faction emerging victorious. According to Coke, all three will be cued and ready for broadcast while Coca-Cola representatives tabulate votes and deduct points for sabotages during the Super Bowl.
After the winning 30-second commercial airs, anyone who likes or follows Coke Chase will be rewarded with additional content and the first 50,000 people who participated in the Chase and log on to, or sign-up for, MyCokeRewards will receive a coupon for a free bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Coke Zero.
To help fans decide who deserves their support, CokeChase.com features biographical information about each group, as well as related photo galleries.
Coke says real-time updates on the Chase will take place on every major form of social media. That means Coke's 58 million Facebook fans can expect to see additional content there, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram.
Fans can also vote by including @CocaCola and the hashtag of their chosen team -- #CokeShowgirls, #CokeCowboys or #CokeBadlanders. Those who do so on game day will receive responses from the team, including a link to the sabotage page on CokeChase.com. @CocaCola has 666,000 followers.
@DocPemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola who has 124,000 followers on Twitter, is also providing race commentary, like, "I'm voting #CokeCowboys in @CocaCola's Big Game ad. I admire good southern gentlemen with even better facial stubble."
Coke kicked off its social promotion with a YouTube takeover on January 23.
"The Big Game is the ultimate platform for showcasing brands' preeminent advertising, but this year we're also using America's biggest stage to kick off Coca-Cola's marketing efforts for the entire year that will focus on Coke as the ultimate refresher," said Pio Schunker, senior vice president of integrated marketing communications for Coca-Cola North America, in a prepared statement.
Coke worked with Wieden + Kennedy on the campaign.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.