“The Super Bowl used to be a football game, but advertisers are turning the upcoming gridiron event into a high-stakes social-media game,” writes Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY.
The reporter then points out that Audi and Mercedes Benz are both introducing Promotional Social Media Marketing campaigns to support their TV efforts around the advertising event of the year.
Social Media Marketing and Promotional Marketing are quite the couple these days. They’re seen on the town together almost nightly now, and always in their finest outfits. And for a gala like the Super Bowl, this power couple really steps it up.
Mercedes Benz is conducting MB Tweeet Race, a Cannonball-like affair pitting four two-person teams in a race to Dallas, the site of the Super Bowl next February. Drivers who want to participate in this race must first “Like” the brand’s Facebook page and then throw their hat in the ring.
The selected teams will embark on Feb. 2, 2011, from one of four cities — New York, L.A., Chicago or Tampa — with a pair of Super Bowl tickets and a specially outfitted Mercedes-Benz. Drivers will complete a series of challenges along the way and “need gallons of Tweets from their Twitter followers to fuel the victory.”
Lee Jones of Minnesota PR Blog doesn’t like it.
Instead of carefully building a social media network by utilizing the Mercedes fan base, engaging with people and communicating with them on the same level for months on end, Mercedes is instead going to throw some cash at a few plucky youngsters to get people to “digitally tout” the Mercedes brand during the Super Bowl?
By bribing people to tweet a message rather than cultivating it organically the car giant is merely using its marketing budget to get up onto a bandwagon.
Bribing people? That’s pretty tough language for giving away prizes to a brand’s most engaged fans, a practice that’s been around for decades. The fact is earned media and paid media work best when they work together.
Here’s one potential driver in this race that’s ready to hit the gas:
Social Car News points out that the winners of the race will receive a 2012 Mercedes C-Class Coupe, a car that has yet to be introduced.