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Super Bowl ads: Coca-Cola says goodbye to bears, hello to 'Mirage'

Coca-Cola's Polar Bear Bowl has been one of those indelible fixtures of the Super Bowl — or at least was last year, when bears changed scarves, and colors, depending upon whom was ahead. Yup, we saw a lot of blue scarves. But no more bears, or just to couch this — probably no more bears. Coke is on to a different kick — referred to here simply as "Mirage," and yup, the pregame buzz has of course begun.

Here's the scene: It's a vast desert and out of the distant on the blistering sand there are three  groups — showgirls on a bus; a posse of "Mad Max"-styled dudes; and cowboys — all in hot pursuit of something, with "Sheherazade" tracking. That would be the giant Coke bottle on the horizon.

The 60-second tease, now posted on Facebook, shows a race among the three to the finish, only to get to the bottle to find out that it's a billboard, and that the real Coke is 50 miles away.

So, who wins the Coke? That's the nature of this social media game, and consumers are invited to play along, while the game commercial will feature the winner. (Plus, there are coupons to win for a free Coke, etc.)

It's an interesting departure for Coke, one of the Super Bowl's iconic advertisers, and reveals a shift that's affecting other advertisers this year — not only tease your game ad, but engage viewers in some sort of pregame ritual that determines some sort of outcome.

That of course is one of the holy grails of consumer marketing — engaging consumers, thereby wresting away "mind share" from competitors. But, I suspect, Coke is also using Facebook and other social media tools to better understand consumer patterns, habits and triggers.

In fact, it'll incorporate a Domino's commercial tie-in into its Super Bowl ads — a first for Coke, and a way to figure out exactly whether it can get the same sort of game day pop that the pizza company typically gets.

  Check out the ad that was released Tuesday:

Tags: coca-cola , domino's , wieden & kennedy , coke , polar bears , mirage

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