And now a commercial break
Hashtags will be big in commercials this year, too. It's likely you'll see one splashed across the screen in most of the ads, because advertisers know that if they can get you talking about the commercial online, that will lead more eyeballs to the ad itself, giving the companies more bang for their $4.5 million bucks.
Shazam's apps for iOS, Windows and Android will come in handy during the commercials — when you see an ad with the Shazam logo, use the app to listen in, and you'll see related content like links, making-of videos, and maybe even a discount or two. Use Shazam during the halftime show to get the entire playlist, too. Just don't be surprised to see related "content" (aka ads) on Facebook later.
There's still time to sign up for USA Today's official Ad Meter program, which lets you vote for your favorite Super Bowl commercials. Voting begins at noon Eastern on Sunday and runs through the end of the game. USA Today takes the whole ad thing very seriously, with the signup page warning, "As an official Super Bowl Ad Meter panelist, you'll need to vote on all the commercials." At last, a reason to viciously shush your companions if they start yakking during the ads!
Hulu is letting users vote on their favorite commercials, too — check out the Hulu Ad Zone in a browser or the Hulu app for your phone or tablet to vote. And don't forget YouTube — the Ad Blitz channel will also have voting, and you can catch any commercials you missed or share them with your social networks.
Apps to keep you in the game
Julius Thomas, tight end for the Broncos, will use Hang w/ throughout the weekend — well, not during the game, of course — to let fans get a backstage peek at the experience of a Super Bowl player. Hang W/ is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android, and you can follow Julius or other celebs like 50 Cent and Timbaland to get a notification when they are broadcasting live, or just peek in at past 3- to 9-minute broadcasts. The app even lets you ask questions.
FanCake for iOS and Android asks users to make predictions about games, including the Super Bowl. Get something right (even as simple as "Who is going to win?" or as silly as "What color liquid will be dumped on the winning coach?") and you rack up points that you can eventually exchange for prizes like a free month of Netflix. The app also has a built-in Twitter search for the #SBXLVIII hashtag, a game cast, stats, and a chat room for trash talking.
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