2011's Social Media Super Bowl Puts Twitter & Facebook In The Driver's Seat

This year with over 100 million viewers predicted to watch the Super Bowl and commercials costing $3 million a spot, brands are looking to rope in even more  eyeballs by promoting their wares on Twitter and Facebook. And this year, Mercedes-Benz is upping the ante by actually awarding 2 of their new 2012 C-Class Coupes to contest contestants they consider the most savvy social networkers.

The number-one sporting event of the second decade of the 21st century, Super Bowl XLV, on February 6 comes complete with its standard over-the-top new commercials that are usually custom-made for the event and often more anticipated than the score or the half-time concert performance. And while social media has been tied into the Super Bowl in the past - this year, Mercedes is putting both Facebook and Twitter on par with some of those $3 million dollar commercials.

To kick-off its 125th anniversary, Mercedes-Benz, the German car-maker will be advertising at the Super Bowl for the first time when their 60-second spot runs in the fourth quarter. However, what will really be catching some major viral buzz is their social media campaign titled, "The World's First Twitter-Fueled Race," that was first launched in December. Contingent on teams of two racking up the most tweets and Facebook LIKES, four two-person driving teams won the opportunity to drive specially equipped 2011 Mercedes-Benz vehicles to the Super Bowl.

On February 2, each team embarking separately from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Tampa will drive directly to Cowboys Stadium for the game. Team S includes Todd Sanders and co-drive John Pederson, Team GL, Jennifer Marshall and Meredith Sinclair, Team E, Len Kendall and John Morrison, and Team CL includes Layla Kayleigh and Julissa Bermudez.

Competing for a pair of new 2012 C-Class Coupes, teams will have the help of Twitter–savvy celebrities, who, in the role of Team Coaches, will rally online support for their assigned teams and raise money for charity in the process. Those coaches include tennis star Serena Williams, hip-hopper Rev Run, NY Yankees' Nick Swisher and Grammy-nominated artist Pete Wentz.

Serena Williams, Rev Run, Nick Swisher & Pete WentzSerena Williams, Rev Run, Nick Swisher & Pete Wentz
For those followers that follow the winning teams who tally the most tweets and LIKES, they will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a V.I.P trip for two to a Mercedes-Benz 2011 sponsored event of their choice - either, the US Open, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week or the PGA Championship. And by participating in the race on Twitter, participants also put themselves in the running for one of 20 Tweet Race MVT (Most Valuable Tweeter) awards and could take home an exclusive Mercedes-Benz luggage set.

According to an I4U News report, when the race starts on February 2, the driving teams will depart from their respective locations and attempt to generate as much Twitter buzz, or "Tweet Fuel" as possible for their journey to Dallas. Over a three-day period, they will earn points not only for collecting Tweet Fuel, but for their performance on a series of social media-related challenges they will tackle along the way. The team that reaches the finish line achieving the highest total score will be declared the winner, and the driver and co-driver will each receive an all-new 2012 C-Class Coupe -- which will debut later this year.

For a list of the current official and rumored Super Bowl ads for 2011 check out the Super Bowl Ads 2011 Guide, and the Super Bowl XLV Facts and Times Guide.