Super Bowl advertisers must prepare to make an impact not just on the TV screen but also on the millions of smaller second screens that run during the game.
With fewer scandals looming over Super Bowl 50 than last year’s game, everything is nearly set for one of the most anticipated media events. Major brands in particular are already geared up for their multi-million dollar Super Bowl advertising campaigns. But they must be prepared to make impressions not just on TV screens, but also on the millions of smaller devices that will be running during the game.
Going for a Screen Pass
Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other browser-enabled devices will capture larger audiences as viewers split their time during the big game. Twitter activity exploded last year during the climactic last-minute interception by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, with 395,000 tweets per minute. Facebook had a similar flurry of activity. Surprisingly, women dominated the conversations there, posting 14% more social mentions of the “Super Bowl” than men.
While some marketers fear the prospect of competing for viewers’ divided attention, the smart ones are embracing it. Brands with and without official ad spots are preparing for the millions of eyeballs that will be glancing down at their laps or palms while the Panthers and Broncos battle on the field.
In order to capitalize on the online activity, brands are preparing real-time marketing content that is responsive to ongoing conversations. Last year, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino made a sly joke about how Katy Perry’s lion mount looked like a cameo of their own statue mascot, and Audi shot back at BMW’s Katie Couric endorsement with a well-placed emoji and a link to an article about how Ms. Couric happened to drive an Audi IRL. The two tweets garnered 6,600% jump in retweets and 35 times more in favorites, respectively.
Making Brand Equity Pocket-Sized
As clever and effortless as these social media postings seem, they actually represent a tremendous amount of work by social branding experts. By monitoring the natural flow of conversations among targeted segments, marketers can determine the type of content that has the most potential social resonance. Then, they can respond instantly to trending topics using prepackaged content as a blueprint. Marketing agencies have come to increasingly “rely on technology ready to deliver a ‘real time’ response on social media that was actually pre-scripted and waiting in a kind of digital backstage,” according to a NBC News article about last year’s game.
NBC themselves learned the value of social that year. In 2012, the network had only a handful of people posting on three main social channels. In 2015, five producers oversaw more than 30 people stationed throughout two time zones. They produce content and monitor trending topics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine and Pinterest.
Now, even during the lead-up to the Super Bowl, major brands have felt pressure to leverage their multimillion dollar ad campaigns. Super Bowl ad “trailers” prime audiences while connecting emotions, messages, stories and images to the advertisements in which brands have invested millions. Wix, Doritos, Néstle, Skittles (Mars, Inc.) and more have already been hyping their ads online with the help of celebrities like Steven Tyler.
These multi-channel campaigns will exhaustively measure reactions while trying to leverage the attention the Super Bowl brings. The social data that results undoubtedly provides insights for long-term marketing strategies long after the last fans leave the stadium.