* Bridgestone ad tops on social networks
* USA Today crown split between two dog commercials
* Social networks replacing polls in post-game analysis
By Paul Thomasch
NEW YORK, Feb 7 The polls are out, the critics,
academics and armchair ad executives have cast their votes and
the winners of this year's Super Bowl branding battle have been
declared: Volkswagen, Bridgestone, Doritos and Bud Light.
The big loser? That may be the actual polls and reviews run
by USA Today, Kellogg School of Management, The Wall Street
Journal and Advertising Age.
No longer are polls the object of obsession they once were
with chief marketing officers seeking feedback on the millions
they forked over for 30 or 60 seconds of Super Bowl commercial
time. Twitter and Facebook are replacing them.
Rating highly in polls still does not hurt, of course. But
social networks can tell CMOs more than the simple thumbs
up/thumbs down conclusions of voting, since the ads become the
subject of conversations rather than one-word responses.
Plus, buzz on Twitter or Facebook can also make a product
cool -- a designation that justifies the $3 million cost of a
Super Bowl ad. The trick is to generate that buzz, an effort
undertaken by nearly every advertiser in this year's game
[ID:nN0183937]. (For a story on Super Bowl viewership:
Consider E*Trade Financial Corp (ETFC.O), which ran a
popular ad on Sunday featuring its spokesbaby getting measured
by his tailor Enzo, "the artiste behind my wardrobe." That ad
was just part of a broader campaign that included extensions to
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a site that lets the consumer
create a script for the baby and email it to friends.
"In the last couple of years, we've done incredibly well
with the USA poll, the Wall Street Journal poll, so we've won a
couple of those," said E*Trade Chief Marketing Officer Nick
"But at the end of the day you want to be part of the
conversation -- this is not just about running one spot on the
Super Bowl. This is a business decision, so it means full
In other instances of social media gimmicks, 20th Century
Fox's (NWSA.O) ad for its upcoming "Rio" movie that ran on
Sunday directed viewers to a special level of the popular
"Angry Birds" mobile game; and PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) ran a "Crash
the Super Bowl" Web campaign -- with all the requisite Facebook
and Twitter links -- around ads created by amateurs. (For a
previous story on Super Bowl commercials: [ID:nN0183937] )
Whether these efforts work is still the $64,000 question,
said Al DiGuido, chief executive of digital ad agency Zeta,
which tracks the social media chatter about Super Bowl ads
after the game.
"The Internet and social media are very fickle. You've got
to make sure that brand aura you've created extends and has a
life," DiGuido said.
As for what is hot on the Web, Bridgestone's "Reply All"
about a possibly disastrous email reply, received 94 percent
positive buzz, according to Zeta. That was followed by Pepsi
Max's consumer-generated "First Date."
The two lowest-ranking spots -- in terms of social media
buzz -- was one from Doritos featuring an office worker licking
the leftover Doritos cheese powder off a co-worker's finger.
But Doritos can take comfort in the more traditional world
of surveys, having received an "A" rating for its efforts from
Kellogg School of Management's review.
Among the other ads favored in the post-game polls:
* The Wall Street Journal poll gave top honors to
Volkswagen AG's (VOWG.DE) "The Force" spot, in which a boy
dressed as Darth Vader believes he used the mythical "Star
Wars" force to start his dad's Passat.
* In USA Today's 23rd annual poll, two spots feature dogs
tied for a top prize, one from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV's
(ABI.BR) Bud Light and the other from Doritos.
* A slapstick spot from Snickers, a brand of candy company
Mars, set in a logging camp took the top prize in TiVo Inc's
(TIVO.O) audience measurement analysis. It was followed by the
odd couple of teen sensation Justin Bieber and veteran rocker
Ozzy Osbourne in a spot from Best Buy. (BBY.N)
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Matthew Lewis)