Although the Super Bowl won't start until February 6, marketing efforts by advertisers are already kicking off. It's a risk to start this early, because marketing activities might get drowned out by the year-end holiday messages blaring from all media.
However, by getting the ball rolling in social media, marketers want to build the word of mouth to a crescendo that reaches its apex on Super Bowl Sunday.
For example, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are both launching contests in which the goal is to help the car companies spread the word by tweeting, etc.
Not everyone thinks that putting social media at the heart of Super Bowl marketing is a great idea. Jeremiah Owyang complained that Pepsi missed an opportunity when it bypassed the 2010 Super Bowl ad business in favor of social media to trumpet its innovative social responsibility program.
In fact, Pepsi has decided to buy 2011 Super Bowl ad time for its Max soft drink and Doritos snacks. Not that Pepsi is a slouch when it comes to social media: Its Twitter account has 50,000 followers. Its Facebook page has nearly 3 million "likes." That's a lot of word of mouth!