It’s the Super Bowl—at the Superdome.
Super bros John and Jim Harbaugh lead their teams into the battle by the bayou. Everything’s supersized: the anticipation, the audience, the ticket prices, the parties, the halftime show, and the media coverage.
Of course, the enormity of the game dwarfs any other one-day clash in all of sports. And then there’s that other super showdown, the mega-million dollar mêlée where the titans of television advertising dig deep into their imaginations and deeper still into their piggy banks to vie for, uh… um…
Sales? Brand awareness? Laughs? Press?
What exactly are the advertisers trying to accomplish?
The spots go for around $4-million a pop this year. That’s a lot friggin nacho chips.
Those companies can’t be betting on the reach (that’s media speak for “headcount”) of the broadcast, can they?
It’s worth noting, there’s always a lengthy (albeit boring) epilogue to the Super Bowl ad war. Every media outlet plugs into television advertising 100X more acutely than any other time of the year, so there’s the residual PR, if you will.
And more importantly, there’s the water cooler conversations going down in offices everywhere on Monday…
Did you see the one where the frog did that—? Dude, that wasn’t nearly as hilarious as the polar bear with the—or maybe it was a kangaroo. C’mon man, the hot racecar girl was even more epic… You know, the commercial for the, the, the, you know, the company that, you know.
Yeah, generally even if the ads are good our memory isn’t. Most fans are at noisy parties unable to hear a word. Or they’re jockeying for a bowl of chili, in line at the keg, or in the can.
But none of this really diminishes the buzz, does it? Wherever we are come game day we’re going to put an indelible stamp on the proceedings with the thoughts we broadcast on the publishing platforms social media affords each and everyone of us.
A little bluebird makes a lot of noise.
Twitter chatter soars while any major story unfolds.
Last year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched TV show in U.S. history and clearly a social phenom. According to social scientists Bluefin Labs, the game activated 11.2 million social media comments.
During the game, Twitter broke records twice. Network Insights reported 42% of the record-breaking tweet volume was about the commercials. 32% were about Madonna’s halftime performance.
Twitter even gamified the hoopla with its first ever “Twitter Ad Scrimmage.” Samsung’s Galaxy Note commercial took the honors while a Disney trailer and an H&M spot featuring David Beckham also earned positions on the podium.
Fast Company ran an interesting story about several of the advertisers’ Twitter Bowl strategies.
GE created a hashtag in hopes of generating conversation about how their energy businesses help power the country. The campaign connected to a website and Facebook page where people submitted stories about what’s working in their communities.
Demonstrating the company “gets” social media, global head of digital marketing, Linda Boff said the success of the campaign wouldn’t be measured strictly in terms of sales. “The more people know about GE, our technologies, their impact, and the people behind them, the more they want to partner with us, do business with us, and invest in us,” she says. “That’s where we connect the dots.”
As immense as the Twitter chatter is during and after the game, the real story is the power of social video (yes, you need to add this phrase to your vocab). In fact, it’s become its own social science. So much so, Unruly Media, a multinational specialist in social video advertising, has developed an algorithm to predict a commercial’s “shareability.”
Unruly claims to have identified the emotional triggers, which encourage sharing and increase brand advocacy. In its “Super Bowl XLVII—A Social Video Advertising Playbook” paper, the company writes, “Timing is crucial for brands hunting social video success.” They go on to suggest teaser ads should be released online before the game to increase interest and report 75% of the top 20 most shared ads were launched before Super Bowl Sunday last year.
The replays are magical in a way because unlike the “it’s here and it’s gone” reality of a live TV spot, social video has staying power. Get this: 55% of the shares of last year’s top 20 Super Bowl ads occurred after March 1.
Coca-Cola’s got game.
Perennial big spenders Coca-Cola, giants of social media, released a speechless 60-second ad last week—sans polar bears.
The mega-production, “CokeChase,” is a game starring showgirls, cowboys, and badlanders. Viewers are invited to vote—via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr—for which group wins the Coke. After the football game ends, the winner of the chase will be announced in another commercial.
Social media is the real winner.
Social media has changed every game, none more obviously than the game of games, the Super Bowl. And advertisers are all over it for good reason.
Consider this: when commercials are talked about, shared, and replayed online, audience members can, and will, take action. Isn’t that why companies invest in advertising? Advertisers get far more for their money because they can make meaningful connections, which couldn’t possibly be made in a span of 30 seconds.
Last year, one in five brands included hashtags in their commercials last year. It’d be safe to bet the spread will shrink sizably this year. It’s conceivable every commercial includes a Twitter hashtag, Facebook page, or the like.
Think about it. Miss out on the opportunity to put a social play into the game on Super Sunday? Why, you’d have to be an incredible birdbrain.
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