NEW YORK — Most people will be cheering for the San Francisco 49ers or Baltimore Ravens during Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.
But Coca-Cola is asking viewers to cheer for three very different groups in an interactive marketing blitz during the big game: a troupe of showgirls, a band of cowboys and a biker-style gang of "badlanders" — all on a quest for a thirst-quenching Coke in a desert.
The campaign, which will include TV spots as well as a website, CokeChase.com, and interaction with consumers on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, is the world's largest beverage maker's latest attempt to capture interest of people who watch the NFL title game with a second screen such as a tablet or smartphone nearby. With Super Bowl ads costing around $4 million for 30 seconds, it is increasingly important for marketers to make that investment count, extending Super Bowl campaigns online before, during and after the game.
"The second screen is a huge deal for us," said Stuart Kronauge, president of sparkling beverages for Coca-Cola Co. "It doesn't matter where consumers are, be it TV, mobile or tablet — we need to be there."
To engage the more than 100 million viewers who tune into the Super Bowl every year, Coca-Cola decided to create its own game.
A cinematic 30-second TV ad created by longtime agency Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., which will run on network TV and on YouTube.com, sets up the game's premise. The three groups, in the middle of the desert, race toward what looks to be a giant Coca-Cola, but it turns out to be a wooden sign that indicates the Coke is 50 miles away.
"Vote now to decide who wins. Cokechase.com," copy reads.
Starting today through the end of the Super Bowl, which airs on CBS, users can vote online or send a tweet to choose their favorite group, and try to sabotage other groups. The winner, tallied in real time, will be shown in an ad immediately following the final whistle of the Super Bowl.
The effort follows Coke's campaign last year that also targeted "second screen" viewers. Ads during the Super Bowl showed animated polar bears watching the Super Bowl and directed viewers to a website where people could watch a live feed of the bears throughout the entire game.
This time, the first 50,000 viewers who vote on cokechase.com will get a free Coke or Diet Coke, if they log on to Coke's rewards site and register.