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Leaving Your Fate with Facebook

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This Sunday, football fans will be glued to their TVs for the Superbowl, while we in the advertising industry will be glued to our TVs for the… Superbowl. Let’s face it, some people watch the Superbowl just for the ads, and through the years I’ve seen some great TV spots debut on the big game day. This year, 30-second ad spots reportedly cost $2.5 million and up – that’s A LOT of money so advertisers often spend months (even years) in advanced preparing for those Superbowl ads.

However, Budweiser – a huge Superbowl advertiser – decided to take a leap of faith on deciding which ad to play and leave its fate with Facebook. Yes, Facebook, particularly Budweiser Fans on Facebook. Budweiser proudly declares as its status:

Budweiser wants our fans to help us decide which commercial makes it to the Big Game. Click on the “Game Day Pick” tab for an exclusive preview of three new spots and vote for your favorite!

This “promo” first caught my eye when I saw a Facebook homepage engagement ad:


It was a basic “Become a Fan” ad unit and it actually made me wonder why Budweiser is targeting me – is it because of my age group/gender/location? Or is it because I have “advertising” in my profile? I’m not a big fan of beer but I am a big fan of (most) TV commercials so I still clicked the ad and became a fan.

I landed on the custom tab for “Game Day Pick:And proceeded to watch all three clips. My personal opinion: they were all… blah. I was not impressed by any but did end up voting for the “Payment” one (the only one that’s slightly funny and more interesting than the others, I think).

But if I didn’t like with the Budweiser ads, why am I using up precious blog space and brain energy to write about Budweiser on Facebook? Because while I wasn’t impressed with the ads, I was impressed with their strategy.

This is one of the most well-known brands in the world, undoubtedly with millions of dollars invested in marketing and advertising, and it is wholly embracing the power of social media. I’m impressed that they are leveraging the power of Facebook to hype up their Superbowl ads, and are letting their fans become part of this big decision (what ad to run), encouraging user engagement and brand affinity. And I’m impressed that they got me – a non-beer drinker, non-Budweiser aficionado – to actually become a fan, and watch their ads, and vote!

And even more impressive? Budweiser is smart enough to encourage viral propagation not just by giving the user the option to post it on their feed:


But also asking them to comment on the “what do you think” area:

This is just basic social media strategy, but it is genius in its simplicity. The key here is user engagement and Budweiser is doing a really good job at it.

I’m definitely watching out for the Budweiser ad this Sunday to see if the one I voted for actually “won”, and hey, I might even drink a bottle of Budweiser (just maybe)… Whether you’re tuning in for the football or the ads, I hope you have a great time!

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