Who Will Win The Superbowl? Facebook… That's Who

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The Superbowl is always a funny event for me. Jocks, couch potatoes and Marketing nerds all get their funk on for a couple of hours.

From a Marketing perspective (because, trust me, you do not want my perspective on sports), the Superbowl is that one time out of the year when our industry gets a very real temperature check as to how we’re doing. We see this in how fast the television commercials sell-out for the event (and when in the year this happens), we see this in the amount a 30-second spot sells for, we see this in the types of adjunct promotions that take place surrounding the event and, ultimately, in how well the creative performs. For many Marketers, advertising on the Superbowl becomes the centrifugal force for the rest of their marketing and communications activities for the entire year.

So, who do you think will come out on top this year? The answer is: Facebook.

You may be thinking to yourself that Facebook isn’t even running a TV commercial during the football game… and you would be right. They don’t have to. Along with every commercial will be some kind of link to a Facebook page. They will be about "liking" the brand on Facebook, "learning more" on Facebook, "following" the brand on Facebook, a contest on Facebook and much more. Twitter will get some love too, but this will be the "year of Facebook" when it comes to the Superbowl.

It won’t just be about Facebook during the commercials.

Along with the many calls-to-action driving consumers to Facebook, you can rest assured that the commentators during the game will drop the "F" bomb a couple of times too (Facebook… Facebook… not the other "f bomb") just to come off as being culturally relevant. The press in and around the game will also make mention of Facebook (a lot) when discussing and dissecting the commercials and their viability. It just won’t stop.

What do you think Facebook is paying for all of this attention and publicity?

The answer is: nothing (or next to nothing). In fact, they are actually going to make money (and, a lot of it) on the Superbowl. All of this attention is going to drive a significant amount of traffic that will push advertising on the online social network to new heights. Brands are currently paying Facebook to set-up some of the many promotions that they are going to run during the Superbowl. On top of that, because of the many new and different ways that brands will be leveraging Facebook, the company will use those stories as case studies to entice other advertisers to work with them. So, while everyone else is trying to figure out if the beer company or the sugar-water company had a better ad on the Superbowl, always remember (in the back of your mind) that it’s actually Facebook that will be coming out on top.

While I’m not much of a gambler, I’d love to bet on the over/under for how many mentions and sightings there are of Facebook during the Superbowl.


  1. Ah… I see it now, a new drinking game for this Sunday’s Superbowl… every mention or sighting of Facebook in an ad… time to do a shot! 😉 Sorry Mitch, couldn’t resist. 😉

  2. I think we should definitely keep an eye on Twitter.
    Live TV tweeting is moving into the fast lane.
    The Superbowl could mean good things for the microblog.
    Great post as always, Mitch.

  3. I read/heard/saw somewhere once that in NASCAR, there are people who will watch a race to see how many times a sponsor’s image is broadcast – whether it’s on the screen, or a sticker on the car or helmet – anything. They’ll measure every single second to put a value on the exposure for ad rates. Not sure if that’s true, but it’s a great comparison with Facebook because in Facebook’s case, the value is on the impact – what people do with that information – not just the image. Watching a Budweiser ad doesn’t make me want to go buy beer. Watching a Budweiser ad where they say I can do something interactive with them on Facebook makes me want to go to my computer.

  4. I was watching the NHL All-Star game last night and along the blue line on the boards in white was the Reebok logo. But at first glance it was a blue square with white letters and I wondered when Facebook started advertising, never mind in a hockey arena. Reebok was founded in 1985. Facebook was founded in a dorm at Harvard seven years ago. So much for 116 years of brand recognition.
    We endured decades of poorly integrated product placements and awkward infomercials but now life and art are spending a lot of time together. Krispy Kreme had a good thing for a while – no advertising – just boxes of free dough and the media we nuts with the free mentions. Apple spends billions on outbound marketing yet they get billions back in evangelistic support through personal interaction and the social web.
    Facebook is currently making the Hollywood award circuit now that the infamous film that was paid for and produced by someone else has been nominated for so many awards, including a handful of Oscars.
    Will Facebook be on top forever? Absolutely not. Will the billionaire wunderkind enjoy this while it lasts? Absolutely. And it won’t even cost him a donut.

  5. Is Facebook really the winner when we all expect Facebook to be part of a brand’s advertisement? While brands may direct consumers to Facebook, it still takes one liking the brand to go to Facebook.

  6. Of course Facebook is the winner! They have created the platform that allows other companies to do their marketing and PR for them. That’s a definite win if you ask me!! Whether someone likes one brand or another, they have to go to Facebook to tell the world so. This allows word of mouth marketing, amazing right, BUT even more amazing is the platform that allows it all to happen!

  7. 60 minutes of play + somewhere around 60 minutes of commercials + 15 minutes of halftime + pre & postgame (if you count that) + whatever other stoppage time we see =3-4 hours (180-240 minutes) of potential time during which Facebook can be mentioned.
    I predict 200 mentions of Facebook, not including visual representations (logos, URLs, etc). 😉
    On a serious note though, you hit the nail on the head. Everyone wants to talk about genius creative, should brand X being doing this or that, should they even have a superbowl commercial, and so on, but this is one of those posts where you take a step back and say, “Who has positioned themselves to win no matter what?” Now, that is an enviable spot to be in (as Facebook that is), and good on you, Mitch, for pointing that out. Reading a post like this was truthfully refreshing.

  8. Hi Mitch, good post.
    True…but I suggest that you also look at this from the other side of the fence.
    The tech and marketing world create their own ingrained perspective. We comment on ourselves endlessly (myself included of course). But the social web while it certainly brings value to the platforms (Facebook Twitter and Tumbr and others) in the SuperBowl case, but the true value is for the consumer.
    What the real-time web has done, including the platforms that run on it, is of course, empower real-time socialization on a flattened global scale. And sharing as it becomes easier becomes a way to extend and further enjoy stuff, including live events.
    The winner of the SuperBowl in today’s world…is the fans. That’s the power and from a marketing perspective, that the message to the brands who have yet to harness it.

  9. I’m going to go the opposite direction and say that the brand still ends up winning. If anything, the presence of social media (Facebook in Mitch’s example) only gives the fans even more areas to talk and discuss the brands. Regardless of the platform in which they are communicating, there’s more conversation going around.
    Will Facebook play a large role? Absolutely. Some people will go to Facebook, some will go to Twitter, some to YouTube and some to the brand’s website. In the end, it ends up being more conversation in more places…all about the brand.

  10. Casey…of course I agree with you.
    But, at least in the abstract, on the social web, brands are defined by the community around them and not by the brand itself. Both win as value is provided and the brand grows proportionally.
    Sure…this can be called semantic but I find that in my biz, consulting to companies at the intersection of ecommerce and community, the best campaigns and products are defined when you start with the value to the customer. When done right and with luck, brand follows.

  11. That’s the kind of Fact I want to hear.. I’m not surprised why FB and Twitter wins, These social media are all about business.. They know how to play the game.

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