Coca-Cola has revealed that its Super Bowl ad campaign will involve two animated polar bears reacting in real time to action on the field.
The drinks brand aims to connect with the estimated 60m TV viewers in the US who will be using a second screen while watching the game.
Viewers will be able to interact with the polar bears, who will be supporting different teams, by asking questions and posting photos to Facebook or Twitter.
When the bears are responding they will pull out a smartphone to tweet messages or use a tablet to display images submitted by fans.
The bears will react to the entire game broadcast, including the ads, on a dedicated microsite at CokePolarBowl.com
Two puppeteers will control their movements using an Xbox, making them cheer when their team scores, laugh at funny ads or snooze during boring ones.
They can also cover the eyes of a baby polar bear if there is a racy ad or Janet Jackson-style ‘wardrobe malfunction’.
As well as the microsite and social media channels, Coke will be streaming the real time footage to rich media ad banners on ESPN.com and on mobile apps.
Coke SVP for creative excellence Pio Schunker said that he doesn’t expect fans to watch the bears for the full four hours, but rather dip in and out to check what’s going on.
After the game fans will be able to send videos of the bears to each other either commiserate or gloat about their teams victory, or they can send their friends a voucher for a free Coke using a Facebook app called ‘Arghhh Giver’.
The animated footage and social media chatter will also be posted on Coke’s YouTube channel.
Alongside the online activity, Coke plans to run two TV ad spots during the first and second quarters involving the two bears.
The first is called ‘Superstition’ and shows one of the bears crossing his paws for good luck, while the second ad will change depending on which team is in front.
The bear whose team is losing will walk out of the cave to get some fresh air and end up as the lead character in the advert. Both ads will run simulataneously online and on TV.
Coke has made a shrewd move by trying to tap into the huge volume of social media chatter that will take place around the Super Bowl.
While most brands are focusing on their TV spots – which this year cost as much as $3.5m for 30 seconds – Coke and Doritos have used social media as a central part of their marketing strategy instead of tacking it on to traditional TV broadcasts as an after-thought.
Doritos has integrated social media into its Super Bowl marketing campaign by giving fans the power to choose which ad is shown through a Facebook vote.
It means the brands will be able to measure the campaigns’ impact through engagement on social media and the number of YouTube hits.
Coke it confident it is onto a winner as consumers ‘love’ its iconic polar bears, so this multichannel campaign could become a template for future marketing activities around major events.