By Lauren Barnard

The Super Bowl game always conjures discussion on the relationship between the leading teams and their players. Who will fumble, who will make a touchdown, and of course, who will be named champion?

But since we’re innately PR-obsessed at LMGPR, we’ve begun to analyze a deeper relationship that occurs on Super Bowl Sunday (and has potential to last through the entire year following the event): the relationship between Super Bowl commercials and public relations.

Can the Super Bowl commercials of large companies effectively stand on their own without the help of PR? The fact is, they probably used to. But social media is changing the playing field.

For instance, Coca Cola is using strategic PR to create anticipation about its 2011 Super Bowl commercial by offering a short sneak preview to its 22,000,000+ fans on Facebook. The caveat (or incentive) is that fans must visit Cokecheers.com to make a virtual “cheers.” Then the company will donate $1 to the participating fan’s local Boys and Girls club. What Coke will likely get in return is its outrageously large slew of social-networking active fans to create a seemingly viral hype about the commercials. A total win-win.

Snickers is also offering a preview of its 2011 Super Bowl commercial through its Facebook page. The candy bar company is offering fans a sweepstakes-style prize incentive if they watch the preview, in hopes that they will share it through social media outlets and build anticipation among more viewers.

After the Super Bowl is over, social networks serve as a perfect setting for discussion, critiques and laughs about the commercials. Through this, the life of the expensive commercial advertisements gets extended in a measurable way.

Do you think social networks are effective approaches to the PR behind Super Bowl commercials? Which commercials are you most looking forward to on Sunday?

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