NEW YORK (AP) — You don't have to be a football player to be a part of the action on Super Bowl Sunday.
Coca-Cola is asking people to vote for an online match between three groups competing in a desert for a Coke on Game Day. Pepsi and Toyota are using viewers' photos in their ads. Audi let people choose the end of its Super Bowl ad, while Lincoln based its spot on more 6,000 tweets from fans about their road trips.
"We drove passed an alpaca farm, a few of them were meandering on the highway and my sister screamed, "It's the Alpacalypse!")," reads one tweet in Lincoln's Super Bowl ad that features rapper Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons and Wil Wheaton, who acted in the iconic science-fiction series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Advertisers have found new ways to get viewers into the game online. And they're going well beyond encouraging fans to tweet or "like" their ads on websites like Twitter Facebook.
They're trying to get the most of their Super Bowl ads, which cost nearly $4 million a pop. Companies that advertise during the Super Bowl get a 20 percent increase in Web traffic on the day of the game, according to the analytics arm of software maker Adobe. They also have a higher online audience than average in the week after.
"We're seeing better and more unique ways of getting people involved," said Robert Kolt, an advertising instructor at Michigan State University. "You want people to be engaged."
PepsiCo, which is sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show, said its goal was to create buzz online with a monthlong campaign that went well beyond a voiceover saying "brought to you by Pepsi." T
For about two weeks, Pepsi asked fans online and via a digital billboard in New York's Times Square to submit their pictures for a chance to appear in a 30-second "intro" spot to air right before the halftime show.
The company said the effort was more popular than it expected: Pepsi expected to get 2,000 photos, but got 100,000 instead. About 1,000 photos were chosen to be a part of the intro, one in each frame of the spot, 15 frames a second, stitched together in "flipbook" style video that appears to show one person jumping to the tune of Beyonce's "Countdown" song.
"We don't just want (viewers) on pepsi.com, we want them telling their friends 'I just did something with Pepsi," said Angelique Krembs, vice president of trademark Pepsi marketing. "You want the friend to tell the friend about Pepsi. You don't want Pepsi to always be the one talking about Pepsi."
Coca-Cola created an online campaign that pits three groups — a troupe of showgirls, biker style badlanders and cowboys — against each other in a race through a desert for a Coca-Cola.
Starting Jan. 23 and continuing until the end of the Super Bowl, viewers can vote online for their favorite group. The group with the most votes will be revealed in an ad after the Super Bowl ends. And the first 50,000 voters will get a free Coke if they register for Coke's loyalty program.
The campaign is more interactive than Coca-Cola's online effort last year, which featured a real-time animation of Polar Bears reacting to what was happening during the Super Bowl.
"Last year's effort was much more passive. It was you watching bears watching the game," said Pio Schunker, senior vice president of integrated marketing. "This year we thought, 'Can we up ante on the fun factor by handing the reins over to consumers?'"
Audi let viewers choose one of three possible endings for its Game Day spot by voting online on Jan. 25 for 24 hours.
The ad shows a boy who gets enough confidence from driving his father's Audi to the prom to kiss his dream girl, even though he is then decked by her boyfriend. Audi allowed people to vote for one of three potential endings for the ad.
In one possible ending, the boy drives home alone in triumphant. Another ending shows him palling around with friends. The third shows the boy going home and finding a prom picture of his parents in which his dad has a similar black eye.
The first ending, called "Worth it," won.
Audi, which declined to say how many people voted, said "Worth It," was by far the most popular, getting more than half of the total views and the most "thumbs up" out of all three versions
"This year, Audi wanted to elevate fan interaction by allowing them to take part in the creative process and have a voice in how our spot should end," said Loren Angelo, Audi's general manager of brand marketing. "
The strategy seems to be working. On YouTube, the Audi ad is the third-most viewed Super Bowl ad so far, with 2.5 million views, behind a Toyota ad staring Kaley Cuoco of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" and a teaser for Mercedes-Benz featuring supermodel Kate Upton, according to YouTube.com.
Coca-Cola "Coke Chase" campaign: www.cokechase.com
Pepsi's "Halftime" campaign: http://halftime.pepsi.com/
Toyota's "Wish Granted" ad: http://www.youtube.com/user/ToyotaUSA?feature=watch
Ford's Lincoln "Steer the Script" campaign: http://www.steerthescript.com/
Audi's "Prom" ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANhmS6QLd5Q
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Fourth and sixth graders at Leo Elementary School were given a survey intended to improve student life. Parents were not notified of the survey ahead of time, and said some questions were an invasion of privacy and home life.
The deaf community in South Africa says an interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial was a fake. A revelation that has caused an uproar worldwide.
Police arrested a man after he apparently sent threatening letters to a woman and to himself to throw police off track. Officials said he also set his own truck on fire.
The program provides free cab rides home to impaired drivers during the holiday season until January 1.
Police arrested two people after they went on a shopping spree using credit cards that were stolen from a woman at gunpoint in her parent’s driveway. Police were able to arrest the suspects within hours because the credit card companies told the victim where her cards were being used.
O'Donnell will be performing country music, inspirational ballads, pop hits and Irish standards at the Embassy Theatre, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at 7 p.m.
Check out the photos viewers sent NewsChannel 15 of the snowfall on Wednesday.
A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.
While there are no serious crashes to report, snowy roads made for a dangerous morning commute. Roads are still extremely slick in places and they could stay that way for most of the day.
Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control is offering free straw to anyone in Allen County who needs animal bedding during the cold winter.
Visitors to downtown Fort Wayne can now stay connected on all their wi-fi capable devices thanks to new hot spots at Freimann Square and One Summit Square.
The public is invited to attend, and encouraged to bring gifts for the animals, the 2013 Christmas Open House from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The suspension of a 6-year-old boy for kissing a girl at school is raising questions about whether the peck should be considered sexual harassment.
Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.
The chief of a southwestern Indiana volunteer fire department has resigned after being confronted about postings on his Facebook page saying he was a racist and had joined the Ku Klux Klan.