Believe the hype!I have to confess that I just don’t really get American Football.

That is not to say that I don’t respect that fact that millions do and there are plenty of nutters this side of the pond who love watching men play with funny shaped balls.

I am more interested in the hype surrounding the advertising / social media associated with the super bowl than the game itself (although I have to admit that Jacoby Jones’s 108 yard touchdown was impressive) and this year saw the frenzy reaching new heights.

Ad spots on Super Bowl night are sold by CBS for up to £2.5m. That is a pretty hefty investment for 30 seconds… What interests me is the growing trend of brands using online channels to get in on the hype and the fact that there is so much analysis of who won the advertising battles.

There were a couple of highlights for me this year. Firstly, Pepsi launched this parody video aiming squarely at its arch rival (you need to see the Coke Chase ad to appreciate the costumes):

Simple, but good fun and VERY timely. The result? 500,000 more views than the Coke Chase campaign. No ad slot fees to line the pockets of CBS…

More publicised was Oreo’s response when the game was interrupted by a power cut. As the stadium was plunged into darkness, the social media world was lit up with reactions to this ad:

Oreo Super Bowl Ad

Again, very simple but it is an excellent example of reacting (very) quickly to an event and using digital’s immediacy to do a fantastic job of getting people speaking about you.

No expensive commercials were filmed. No negociations were needed to secure costly ad spots. The entire process was measured in minutes rather than weeks. Hats off to Oreo and its agency for responding so quickly and I hope that brands around the world will use this as an example to demonstrate the effectiveness of digital.

Within an hour of Oreo tweeting its ad, it had been retweeted 10,000 times. That is an impressive response within such a short time and starts to question the age old arguments in favour of television having bigger audiences. How much would you pay to have 18,000 (current total) individuals championing your brand?

Is TV advertising dead? No, of course not. Are we in the dawn of ‘instant advertising’? Yes, times have changed and the online channel enables things that are just not possible elsewhere.

It takes creativity and a real understanding of what is likely to work (both Calvin Klein and Audi tried to muscle in on the Super Bowl, but it was just a bit too generic and didn’t work as well as Oreo’s ad) but the power is shifting and ROI hungry CEOs will surely be scratching their heads and questioning the real value of pouring millions into expensive TV ads.

TV advocates will respond with audiences of 100m+ but I would question how engaged those viewers were. To retweet something, you are showing to your followers that you like it. A personal endorsement is strong (hence Google’s  use of ‘social signals’) and I would personally rather create brand advocacy than a forgettable TV ad.

What do you think? I would love to hear from the Don Drapers out there.