Super Bowl advertisers go after "second screens"

This scene from a Coca-Cola advertisement shows a polar bear trying to catch his bottle before it falls. The ad will be aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

NEW YORK — Call it the “second-screen” Super Bowl.


About two-thirds of smartphone and tablet owners use their gadgets to do things like text or post on Twitter while watching TV, according to research firm Nielsen.

So, for Sunday’s game, companies from Coke to Chevy are trying to reach fans on all the “second screens” they have.

Chevrolet rolled out the first Super Bowl smartphone app that allows Big Game watchers to enter a contest to win everything from pizza to a new Camaro.

Kia is the first company to show its Super Bowl ad ahead of the game in movie theaters.

And Coca Cola set up a Facebook page and Web site so viewers can see its animated polar bears – one cheering for the New England Patriots and the other for the New York Giants – reacting to the game in real time.

Advertisers have big incentives to stand out. With more than 111 million viewers expected to tune into the game, the Super Bowl is by far the biggest stage for marketers. It’s also not cheap — NBC is charging an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot. And the competition is fierce: there will be more than 70 TV ads during the Super Bowl battling for attention.

To create buzz, it’s no longer enough for marketers to simply get people talking at the water cooler the morning after the game. They also want to engage the people who like reacting to big events such as the Super Bowl by posting on Twitter or Facebook or texting their friends, says David Berkowitz, the vice president at digital marketing agency 360i.

“This year, we’re seeing a whole new level of social media activity for Super Bowl advertisers,” said Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

This is the first year that advertisers have tapped into the growing number of users of iPhones and other smartphones during the Super Bowl.

For all their attempts to reach people on their “second screens,” Calkins says advertisers won’t know what works until Game Day.



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