Written by Noemi Pollack on February 3, 2011.
The anticipation surrounding the Super Bowl ad rollouts, is rivaling that of the game itself, for smart marketers have unleashed the ad buzz weeks ahead of the game, with multi-week contests and teasers, extending their exposure of ad expenditures of up to $3 million for prime Super Bowl, well past just the traditional one-time showing during the game.
The trigger is the Super Bowl, but the power to engage before, during and past the game, is the Super “Social” Bowl — a marketer’s dream .
Harnessing emerging venues definitely amortizes costs and in, and of itself, almost rationalizes the significant expenditure for major companies, a point that I am sure is not lost on those CFOs who rant relentlessly about ROI and the Super Bowl ads.
Social or not, it still all starts with old-fashioned TV spots, but spots so designed to draw in an audience through its humor, focus on causes, or creative story line, ones that trigger social media conversations. It’s by no means the first year that the Super “Social” Bowl is tapped, but it certainly seems to be the year social networking charges onto the field.
Whether pre-game, during game, or post game, the social-media maneuvers taking place this year seem to play into a two-pronged universal strategy: to leverage the investment and key into consumer behavior. In terms of leveraging, it will be interesting to see who is truly able to capitalize on their Super Bowl venture. There are companies that are already standing out from the crowd such as (among others), the integrated strategy that Teleflora has with their mobile apps; E-trade’s creative concepts in utilizing their wisecracking baby character to interact with sports commentators and anchors; Audi’s first use of the hashtag on its major TV spot during the games’ first break, hoping to have viewers interact and spark conversations on Twitter during the game. Volkswagen, armed with research that TV viewers go online to check out sports-news sites during the Super Bowl broadcast, plans to respond by doing a takeover of ESPN’s mobile site during the game. Others are showing outtakes from their popular commercials on YouTube and are advertising on YouTube during the days before the Bowl. Still others, like Budweiser, are tying in TV “tease” commercials with ads on Facebook pages.
As to consumer behaviors, a recent survey from Lightspeed Research estimated that nearly two-thirds of viewers aged 18 to 34 who plan to watch the Super Bowl, also plan to make use of a smartphone. Of those with a smartphone, 59% will be sending emails or text messages about the game, 18% will be checking out ads online from their phones, and 18% will visit advertiser websites. And, according to the survey, almost a third, or 32%, will be posting comments about the game on a social network.
The Super “Social” Bowl will surely set an all time record for the fusion of social media with broadcast media, broadcast events and live events everywhere in the communications and advertising industry. Super Bowl or not, marketers should take note…