Super Bowl, Social Media and ROI

As this roller-coaster ride of 2009 slowly approaches disembarkment, many PR peeps continue to wrap their arms around the (soon-to-be anachronistic?) term/discipline/movement/phenomenon called “social media.” Today’s New York Times re-posted a post from ReadWriteWeb that captured some social media experts’s take on SM’s ROI:

“In the words of one pro, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’ In other words, PR can get eyeballs to your site, but it can’t guarantee revenue or members. That’s the job of a well-designed product.”

Here are a few of the notable quotables from the piece:

  • Connie Benson: “Social media monitoring will provide insight across all channels, as well as making social media an active outbound marketing channel.”
  • Chris Brogan: “I see velvet rope networks where some kind of gating to keep out the commons will occur.”
  • Adam Cohen: “Marketing programs [will] focus more on activating brand advocates than general customers.”
  • Ravit Lichtenberg: “While the definition of ROI is evolving to better fit the world of relationships and networks, the ability to demonstrate ROI in hard numbers — not in followers or fans — will become a baseline business requirement in 2010.”

Where’s KD?)

Dana Oshiro‘s RWW piece was prompted by Taly Weiss‘s Trendspotting blog, which held a Twitter-call (vs. cattle call) seeking 140-characterized social media trends in 2010. It arrives at a PRopitious moment in time when Pepsi has chosen to take a bye on its decade-long string of Super Bowl spots in favor of a “$20 million social media campaign” called “The Pepsi Refresh Project.” (This blogger worked to support the company’s Michael Jackson SB spot.)

Having handled PR chores for a fair number of Super Bowl advertising campaigns, including four years running, the ROI was simple: how did we fare against other Super Bowl advertisers in terms of (earned) media coverage (mostly MSM ink & airtime), and 2) what was the level of post-game consumer awareness/site traffic as measured annually by some independent monitoring group. The bellweather for success: garnering greater attention than Anheuser-Busch, which typically outspends all other advertisers.

In reporting on Pepsi’s bold move, Mashable asks the ($20) million dollar question:

Will this strategy be enough to bring back brand awareness to consumers?

I agree. It will be a most interesting exercise to compare Pepsi’s new Super Bowl initiatives with its previous investments. Let’s hope Pepsi’s AOR shares the ROI.


  1. john
    June 21, 2011

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    Promotions and advertising go hand in hand by having the ammunition to be put inside a gun and fired, pointed at the right target.
    social media marketing

  2. dean collins
    February 4, 2011

    Hey Peter,
    Dont forget there is a new Facebook live chat feature for Super Bowl 2010.
    Log into with your Facebook account and you can chat live during the NFL Super Bowl with your Facebook friends while watching the game on tv. (also update twitter, collect badges, setup buddylists etc). is the direct URL.