Coca-Cola is ditching one of its most unexpectedly successful marketing endeavors of last year: The polar bears are getting the boot this Super Bowl.
In addition to starring in Coke's in-game ads, the bears also stole the second screen with the "Polar Bowl" — in which viewers tuned in to see the rival bears' live reactions to the game. The live stream raked 9 million people who spent an average of 28 minutes on the site.
"That's 56 thirty-second commercials," Coke's SVP of integrated content Pio Schunker said in a press conference today. "[The bears] were as close to a sure thing as we had."
So why is the company abandoning a winning strategy for this year's Super Bowl campaign?
"We inherently just wanted to avoid the trap door of doing a sequel where the follow-up is only a pale comparison to the original," Schunker said. "Anyone who's watched Jaws 2 knows what I'm talking about."
So instead, Coca-Cola is gamefying the ad with a competition between bikers, showgirls, and cowboys to get a giant Coke in the middle of the desert. Consumers will be able to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and any other social media network they can come up with to interact with the characters and sabotage their least favorite team. The winner will be revealed at the end of the game.
This will help improve upon the three things that didn't work during the "Polar Bowl" last year.
1. Last year's spot involved passive engagement — you watch the polar bears as they watch the game — as opposed to active participation.
2. Last year's social media playback was limited. Now new content is being created that is specific to each different social media platform.
3. There will be more engagement with fans before, during, and after the game. "We didn't' thank them for interacting last year," Schunker said. That's a mistake Coke won't make again.
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