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Super Bowl XLVI: It's All About the Second Screen

Bloomberg | Getty Images

While the Patriots and the Giants battle it out, the two screens that battle for consumers attention—your smartphone and TV—are teaming up.

About 60% of mobile users plan to use, or look at their phones during the Super Bowl, according to Harris Interactive.

Add in the people who will watch the game with a tablet or laptop, and it’s a multi-platform advertising bonanza.

For the first time NBC is streaming the actual game—with different ads than you’ll find on TV. Will that cannibalize viewers? NBC (*) insists that it won’t, citing the fact that they’ve been live streaming Sunday Night football games. They say that the live stream targets big fans who want to see additional angles and information on players.

During the big game expect advertisers to direct viewers to their computers and smartphones at levels we’ve never seen. Mobile app Shazam, which is known for identifying songs, is working with half of this year’s bowl advertisers, including Toyota, Pepsi and Best Buy . Viewers can click the app to ‘tag’ ads to access related content or to enter sweepstakes. Toyota’s ad links to a chance to win two cars. Cars.com is donating $1 for every person who tags its ad. Pepsi is inviting people who tag its ad to unlock a free video. Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, says that people are bouncing between different forms of media, so marketers are smart to engage them on all screens.

Marketers want to engage customers not just during the 30 seconds for which they’ve paid $3.5 million, but throughout the entire game. Coca-Cola is luring football fans to watch the entire game with Coke’s Facebook fan page open – it will feature those animated polar bears reacting to the game in real time. Chevy has been buying ads on Twitter to promote its “Chevy Game Time App.” It’s actually the first ever app designed just around a Super Bowl app—it offers trivia games for a chance to win prizes.

Super Bowl, Super Sports, Super Bucks - A CNBC Special Report
Super Bowl, Super Sports, Super Bucks - A CNBC Special Report

And advertisers aren’t waiting until Sunday to make the most of their multi-million dollar investment.

Half of Super Bowl ads are already online—most on YouTube, some on Facebook. And to get the biggest bang for their Super Bowl buck they’ve been promoting their role in the big game on Facebook and Twitter. And expect the marketing message to continue for another week after the game. Kellogg’s Calkins says that because advertisers spend so much on the ads-- $3.5 million per 30 seconds, plus another million plus to produce the ad—they want to pick up as much buzz as possible. And if an ad goes viral, like Honda’s Ferris Bueller adhas, all the impressions before and after the game can be far more valuable than the game ad time itself.

(*Note: CNBC and NBCUniversal are both owned by parent company Comcast)

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.