Super Bowl XLV - POV
Analysis of digital advertising tactics during the 2011 Super Bowl
Mindshare, February 2011
The NFL has become the most popular sports league in the United States, and the Super Bowl has grown to be much more than a game, with an entire week of media coverage dedicated to covering all aspects of the teams and players involved. This type of media coverage has made the Super Bowl into amust see event, and has led to enormous audiences tuning into the broadcast of the game year after year. Super Bowl XLV was no different, with Nielsen indicating that over 111MM viewers tuned in, which makes this year’s Super Bowl the most watched program in US broadcast history. Even with a heavier commercial load than a typical NFL game, it’s this ability to scale viewers that has advertisers lining up to pay $3MM (USD) for a 0:30 spot during the game.
Apple is credited with creating the concept of using the Super Bowl as a mass reach vehicle with their iconic 1984 ad. Since that time, the Super Bowl is often used by companies to launch new products or brands, and this year was no different.
We viewed this year’s Super Bowl with an eye on two trends:
1. The ability to drive cross-media success through expanding the tactical TVC to include digital audiences.
2. The assumption that with the growth of Social media’s use for marketing in 2010, this would be the year of the “Social Bowl.”
Cross-Media TacticsEarly Release/Teaser Strategy:
Traditionally, advertisers held their Super Bowl creative under dark cover, anticipating a big reveal during the game. To get the most out of their investment, this year more than ever, advertisers released their creative early to build buzz. Over 30 of the Super Bowl spots were available for viewing prior to the game, several of which had accompanying social media campaigns to generate excitement. Of those, Volkswagen’s release of its “The Force” spot was a clear winner using this strategy. By posting to YouTube, “The Force” generated over 13MM views, was the most Twittered about brand inthe run up to the game, and generated significant conversation amongst bloggers. By releasing theirspot early, Volkswagen suffered no ill effects, as it was voted the best ad from the Super Bowl on the Hulu Adzone and was the third most talked about ad according to a Forbes report. Doritos and PepsiMax are also notable brands which featured their creative across a number of digital platforms such as Xbox Live and YouTube ahead of the game and combined to receive millions of views.Drive to Web
The most common method of driving traffic from television to a digital extension of a campaign hasbeen the inclusion of a URL at the end of the TV commercial. This allows brands to indicate to viewersthat there was more information to be had online, and encourage them to carry on the brandconversation there. Over time this precipitated more sophisticated cross-media efforts. Advertisers started to include a unique URL (instead of the brand or product Web address), invite viewers to participate in related online marketing efforts like contests or partake of special offers and events onthe Web, and most recently, ask consumers to display their brand affiliation on social media sites. It's been a relatively smooth progression from brand site promotion to brand promotion on the Web,motivated by media consumption habits and sustained by results.
- Pepsi – Included a facebook product page URL for Pepsi Max
- Bridgestone Tires – Included a Super Bowl Ad Microsite URL
- GoDaddy.com – “To Be Continued at GoDaddy.com” ending to their commercial
Several brands did synchronize their digital ad buys to run during the Super Bowl and the day after onrelevant sites to capitalize on the buzz, developing a cogent media strategy that is synchronized across channels to extend the creative using the momentum of the Super Bowl advertisement to kickstart a cross-media campaign.
- Budweiser extended their ‘Wild West” ad to iAd on Mobile, with unique mobile executions launching on Super Bowl Sunday across iPad, iPod, and iPhone. The iAds included a free song download from iTunes, and behind-the-scenes video, among other elements.
Using Social Media to extend Super Bowl Spot:
Given the ongoing phenomenon of social media, coupled with the expense of Super Bowl ads, it was expected that this year would have seen a high number of advertisers engaging with viewers to continue the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.
Examples of Social Media inclusion:
- Chevy mentioned a new feature they offer on their OnStar service that lets users access theirFacebook Newsfeed
- Audi used the hashtag #progressIS at the end of their ad in an effort to build their following on Twitter
- Lipton Brisk and Pepsi Max asked users to “see more” at vanity Facebook URLs
- Carfax, E-Trade and Teleflora briefly flashed Facebook and Twitter logos at the end of their spots
Mindshare’s partner, Visible Technologies, tracked online social activity for several brands surrounding the Super Bowl. As seen in the Pepsi example below, the volume of postings for Pepsi related discussions typically returned to normal levels anywhere from 2-3 days after the event, suggesting thatthere exists a short window where marketers need to be prepared to leverage this increased chatterand traffic to engage consumers. This spike scenario was replicated across all brands.
The Visible Measures study also revealed that sentiment was overwhelmingly positive for brands following the Super Bowl. This was particularly true after one measured advertiser (Doritos) actually had increased negative sentiment leading into Super Bowl Sunday as a planned television advertisement had been pulled from rotation due to perceived religious inappropriateness of the ad.
The Mindshare Perspective
Evolution, not Revolution… While the industry continues to evolve to utilize the Super Bowl’s reach, extending beyond the TV Commercial through early release and cross-media/multi-channel inclusion, our expectation was that we would witness more advertisers making prominent efforts to get viewers to use social media to extend the conversation with their brands; thereby making their investment work harder. In fact, Ad Age had dubbed this Super Bowl the “Social Bowl” based on the work they hadseen by brands like Volkswagen, Twentieth Century Fox, Mercedes, Doritos and Pepsi Max leading up to the game. In truth, beyond the pre-release viral efforts of the above mentioned brands, there was surprisingly little emphasis toward social media during the Super Bowl. As noted above, there were some subtle mentions by a few brands regarding social media assets, but most advertisers did little to extend the conversation with viewers after the game or capture the increase in volume to begin adialog. We believe this is a missed opportunity. Is it simply enough to have a Facebook logo or Twitter hashtag?
Of greatest note was that the ad with the most social media prowes did not have a Twitter hashtag, a Facebook page, or a vanity URL; it was an organic message that resonated with the audience. The Chrysler ad “Imported from Detroit” featuring Eminem has reflected the longest sustaining amount of buzz for a Super Bowl advertiser. Not because of its star powered performance, entertainment value, or announcement of a revolutionary new product, but because of the social issue it explored using a distinctly American event to celebrate the American auto industry following a period of heavy negative sentiment surrounding Chrysler having been at the core of auto industry bailouts in 2009. The ad has sparked a media debate generating a wealth of positive sentiment discussions that have continued to be amplified in online forums, talk shows, and conversations across the country more than a week after the game. The ad will likely prove to be a pivotal moment in rebirth of the Chrysler brand.
This 2-minute long Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl wasn't so much a promotion for anew model; it was an editorial in defense of a beleaguered Detroit and, perhaps, awithering philosophy of what America is about. (LA Times, Feb-6, 2011)
As long as the Super Bowl continues to drive scale, marketers will be willing to invest significant dollarsfor spots during the game. Advertising is highly evaluated during this annual TV event. Audiences are more sophisticated now than ever, having been armed with the tools to engage and criticize. It is no longer enough to simply entertain the audience; advertisers need to take advantage of theconvergence that social trends and enabling technologies have provided. Pre-Releasing TVC’s andcreating unique cross-media properties, as well as generating, tracking, and engaging in conversations will become more prevalent and advertisers must consider this planning more deliberately moving forward.Authors:
Andrew Chapman, Leader Digital Exchange, North America, Andy.Chapman@mindshareworld.com
Brian Stoller, Leader Digital Strategy, North America, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Nester, Director Digital Planning, North America, email@example.com
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