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Super Bowl advertisers go into overtime online

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The big game may be over, but Super Bowl XLV advertisers are hoping to keep the conversation about their ads and brands alive through Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. “It's not just a 30-second or 60-second ad; it's the beginning of, hopefully, an ongoing conversation,” said Richard Castellini, CMO at CareerBuilder, which ran a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl this year called “Parking Lot.” The ad placed sixth in USA Today's poll of favorite Super Bowl ads, behind consumer ads for Bud Light, Doritos, Vokswagen and two Pepsi spots. CareerBuilder, which has advertised in the Super Bowl for the past seven years, brought back its popular chimpanzees, which starred in the career site's 2005 and 2006 commercials during the big game. In “Parking Lot,” an employee parking at work is hemmed in by rambunctious monkeys, which park too close and ram into his car, while a voiceover says, “Stuck between a bad job and a hard place?” “Careerbuilder feels, with the economy improving, we know job prospects will be better in 2011 than in the previous two years,” Castellini said. “From a brand perspective, of the 105 million to 110 million people watching the commercials, a large chunk of them are also our customer base.” The TV spot, aimed at employers and jobseekers, is just the start of the campaign. CareerBuilder is rolling out a Facebook game called Yeknom (“monkey” spelled backwards); an e-mail campaign called “Monk-e-Mail,” developed with viral marketing company Oddcast; and a social media application called Monk-e-Maker, also developed with Oddcast, which lets users upload pictures of their bosses and co-workers to make them look like monkeys. CareerBuilder created the Super Bowl campaign in-house. “We've invested in the Super Bowl for seven years because we consistently see a positive return,” Castellini said. Over the last six years, CareerBuilder saw an average 40% year-over-year growth in invoicing in the month following the Super Bowl, and a 23% year-over-year increase in job applications in the month following the game, he said. These types of social media efforts are expected to help Super Bowl advertisers capture a higher return on their average investment of $3 million in media costs for a 30-second spot, ad experts say. “Anything that can extend the life of the campaign will ultimately help in terms of ROI measures,” said Jane Barratt, president of Y&R New York. “[Super Bowl advertising] has gone from being a couple of hours on a Sunday night to a multiweek event. Social media helps build buzz in terms of overall customer experience and providing a wonderful opportunity for companies to engage a little bit further.” However, Barratt said, advertisers still have a long way to go in terms of linking social media efforts to bottom-line results. “You can "like' my ad and share my ad, but there really haven't been a lot of other engagement tactics to take it to the next level, such as allowing users to give data about themselves and experience the product on the next level,” she said. Other advertisers have created social media campaigns that tie in to their Super Bowl ad efforts. “We decided the best way to engage passionate NFL fans, including consumers and small-business owners, was to create an experience with Twitter called "Go Inside Super Bowl XLV with Visa,' ” said Alex Craddock, head of USA marketing for Visa Inc. “TV is phenomenally successful and has worked well for us, but we felt this was a more innovative way to engage users and have them be part of the conversation around the Super Bowl.” Visa debuted an integrated campaign last fall around its sponsorship of the National Football League called “Fans for Life,” created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles. It included the offer of a trip to the Super Bowl for life to a grand prize winner. The campaign included TV spots in the Super Bowl pregame show this year, featuring fans who have won in the past, as well as an application on nfl.com/visa that showed real-time Twitter chat about the game and let users interact with each other. “People don't just sit and watch one screen. Often they have multiple screens open and are engaging with content in multiple ways,” Craddock said. Visa also created a Facebook fan page as part of the campaign, which to date has more than 70,000 fans. Social media sites themselves have created new platforms around Super Bowl spots that create opportunities for the ads to live on long past game day. YouTube this year launched a mobile application called Ad Blitz that lets users vote for their favorite Super Bowl spots. The winner will appear on YouTube's home page this week. Facebook also created a Super Bowl ad contest this year called Facebook Replay, which lets users replay and vote for their favorite ads. While ads aimed directly at business users were scarce during the Super Bowl broadcast, technology and telecommunications brands AT&T, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Verizon ran spots promoting smartphones and tablet PCs to an increasingly mobile audience. In one spot that appeared to take aim directly at Apple, Motorola introduced its new Android-based Xoom tablet PC. The spot featured a futuristic world of white-clad workers wearing earbuds and one rogue worker with a Xoom tablet who uses the device to send animated flowers to a female co-worker, who then removes her earbuds at the end of the commercial. The Xoom is from Motorola Mobility, the consumer-focused company that was created last month when Motorola Inc. split into two companies. The other new company, Motorola Solutions, focuses on business markets.
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