Volkswagen looks to drive social Super Bowl

Automaker creates Super Bowl 'war room' to tackle social media opportunities during game

Volkswagen of America is looking to capitalize on an expected broad use of social media by viewers of Sunday's Super Bowl.

As the automaker's Super Bowl commercial generates huge page view numbers on YouTube -- 3.7 million as of this afternoon -- Volkswagen says it's also created what it calls a "war room" of employees ready to pounce any Super Bowl social media opportunities.

Volkwagen's commercial "Wings" is set to air during the Super Bowl.

"We've always pushed the envelope with social media," said Jennifer Clayton, a Volkswagen media manager. "The Super Bowl is one of the most talked about days of the social space. We wanted to further expand our engagement." Last year's Super Bowl game was seen by analysts as a watershed event for social media.

Consistently the top rated television program each year, the Super Bowl is now a huge day for social networks as viewers tweet their views and post comments about and pictures of their favorite plays, touchdowns, game day parties and, of course, the commercials.

The halftime show last year drove more than 24 million tweets, many with hashtags touted by the competing teams, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

"Social nets are where the most activity will be during the Super Bowl," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "People watching the game will makes comments in real time about action on and off the field. Twitter and Facebook will light up with commentary. It makes sense for companies to want their brand up there getting attention."

To get in on that social media action, Volkswagon launched its game day commercial, Wings, ahead of time on YouTube, along with Budweiser, Mars Inc.'s M&M candies and Audi.

This is the Budweiser "Puppy Love" commercial that will air during the Super Bowl.

Volkswagen is taking a page from Nabisco's 2013 efforts and says it's fully prepared to take advantage of any big trending topics.

During the 2013 game, a blackout stopped play for about half an hour. Nabisco jumped on it, posting a tweet and twitpic in the midst of the outage reminding readers they could "dunk in the dark." The clever post quickly had Twitter abuzz, with Oreo becoming a trending topic.

By the next day, the twitpic had nearly 15,000 retweets and had been favorited more than 5,000 times.

Walgreens followed suit with the tweet: "We do carry candles. #SuperBowl."

Volkswagen learned from those and is prepared to launch not only tweets but videos that take can advantage of any goofs, big plays or other notables.

The company is stocking its war room with people who will monitor social networks to find out what's trending. They'll also have the actors used in the Wings commercial, along with writers, videographers and lawyers on hand to work on the fly. About a dozen people will be on the job.

"Using those [actors] in their video content, they'll push out responding videos and tweets to various topics," said Clayton. "We don't know what it will be. We don't know what topics will be trending. It could be something really amazing that happens during the game or a malfunction of some sort. If there's a horrible winter storm, we might take that on."

She added that the team has been busily practicing.

"We're making up scenarios and writing scripts and seeing how they feel," said Clayton. "They have to feel organic and be within brand tone. We're not actually shooting -- just testing scenarios to warm up, if you will. We're not going to force it. If it doesn't feel right, we're not going to push it out."

Volkswagen's strategy is a good one, said Jordan Atlas, an executive creative director with Ignited USA, a Los Angeles-based advertising company.

"This idea of real-time marketing isn't a new one but it's blown up since last year's Super Bowl," he said. "The idea of preparing for it is good but I would caution people not to be overzealous. It worked with Oreo because it was so seamless. If you came in 10 minutes later, it'd look like you missed the moment."

Atlas warned that companies need to be wary about moving too quickly and missing that a joke might be offensive or simply not sound like the brand's usual tone.

"If you miss it and look gratuitous, the negative response can be big," said Atlas.

"There might be somebody on the team who thinks they've spent all this money on the team and it's the third quarter and nothing has happened so they need to do something. That's when things might feel a little forced," Atlas added.

Clayton said the Volkswagen team is also making sure it can recognize when something doesn't make sense and having the discipline to let it go.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

I found decent information in your article. I am impressed with how nicely you described this subject, It is a gainful article for us. Th...

Daniel Hughes

What 1800 Flowers is doing to create a consistent customer communications experience

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Well, the conversion can be increased by just using marketing, but in general if you are considering an example with Magento, then it is ...

Bob

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

Blog Posts

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Sign in