AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- You don't have to be a football player to be a part of the action on Super Bowl Sunday.
Coca-Cola is asking people to vote for an online match between three groups competing in a desert for a Coke on Game Day. Pepsi and Toyota are using viewers' photos in their ads. Audi let people choose the end of its Super Bowl ad, while Lincoln based its spot on more 6,000 tweets from fans about their road trips.
These are just some ways advertisers have found to get viewers involved in the excitement on Game Day by luring them online. And they're going well beyond encouraging fans to tweet or "like" their ads on websites like Twitter Facebook.
They're trying to get the most of their Super Bowl ads, which cost nearly $4 million for a 30-second spot, by drawing people online. Companies that advertise during the Super Bowl get a 20 percent increase in Web traffic on the day of the game, according to the analytics arm of software maker Adobe. They also have a higher online audience than average in the week after.
"We're seeing better and more unique ways of getting people involved," said Robert Kolt, an advertising instructor at Michigan State University. "You want people to be engaged."
PepsiCo, which is sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show, said its goal was to create buzz online with a monthlong campaign that went well beyond a voiceover saying "brought to you by Pepsi."
For about two weeks, Pepsi asked fans online and via a digital billboard in New York's Times Square to submit their photos for a chance to appear in a 30-second "intro" spot to air right before the halftime show.
The company said the effort was more popular than it expected: Pepsi expected to get 2,000 photos, but got 100,000 instead. About 1,000 photos were chosen to be a part of the intro. They will be stitched together in a "flipbook" style video that appears to show one person jumping to the tune of "Countdown," a song by Beyonc
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