On Sunday night months of work and planning finally culminate. The nation gathers together with their families, friends and snacks to tune into the most-watched annual event of the year… the Super Bowl ads. As marketers, it’s no secret that everyone is bringing their A-game. They’ve been saving their biggest celebrities, cutest animals, and funniest punchlines for this night. But is the hefty $4 million price tag really worth the price? And if not, what are some ways a marketer can get more bang for that buck?
With so much competition on Super Bowl night, marketers have had to become increasingly more strategic with their advertising. Certainly a $4 million investment can get you a seat to the game, but it won’t ensure that your ad is remembered at the end of the night. There are a few vital factors that must be in play to increase the likelihood that your ad will score a touchdown on game night:
- It’s interactive
- It features pre-game and/or post-game promotion
- It utilizes strategic placements
Making Your Media Buy Interactive
Research has shown that television viewers are multitaskers. In addition, to watching a TV program many are also interacting online. On the surface this might seem discouraging for a marketer who has invested $4 million in an ad, but actually this is good news. A study conducted by Flamingo Research and Ipsos OTX actually found that these multi-tasking consumers are actually more open to advertising.
To increase the value of your Super Bowl ad, draw them in with your TV ad and encourage them to continue their interaction online. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Hold a contest around your product or service. For the past few years, Doritos has held a contest where viewers get to create their own ads. Those ads are voted on and the winner’s ad shows during the game.
- Develop a hashtag related to the ad and encourage viewers to participate in the conversation by using the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever site your company is using.
- Use your TV ad to encourage content submissions online.
Pregame and Post-game Promotion
We used to have to wait until game day to see the Super Bowl ads. But over the past few years, we’re seeing more and more advertisers releasing their ads earlier. There’s a good reason for this. Analysis of ad performance has shown that ads released early or in conjunction with a before the game promotion often fare better than those released for the first time during the game. Digital engagement rates are higher for the early released ads, so not only are they viewing and recalling the ads but they are also following up online to talk about them or get additional information about the product.
Here are some alternative options to consider:
- Release your ad early on YouTube or via your social network site.
- Release a short video teasing something exciting in your Super Bowl ad to build anticipation and then show it during the game.
- Use your Super Bowl ad to direct viewers to supplemental content on the website or on your social media channel.
Strategic Media Buys and Ad Placements
With any media buy timing is key, but this is particularly true when it comes to a Super Bowl ad. Just like the game itself advertisers are competing with the best of the best. There are going to be tons of great commercials and in order for yours to be memorable it has to be creative and strategic. Esurance, for example advertised after the game. The audience was still there and the media buy was considerably less expensive than advertising during the game. In fact, Esurance, a low-cost insurance company, played up their thriftiness by holding a contest to give away the money they didn’t spend on their ad.
Another example is Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” tweet was not an ad buy, but demonstrates utilizing strategic timing and placement. During a blackout at the stadium where the game was being held, the Oreo social media team tweeted a clever response and image about the lighting malfunction. The tweet went on to become a case study in real-time marketing and since then it has become more common for brands to follow suit. To be strategic, consider this:
- When making media buys try advertising around, but not during, game time. During a pre-show or during the show following the event to get some of that lead-in audience.
- Utilize social media in relevant ways to insert yourself into a current conversation or pop culture event.
Just like football, marketing is a game of strategy. The key to scoring a true win with your Super Bowl media buy is to take steps to ensure that the buzz around your brand outlives the game. Anyone can garner a laugh or a mention with their advertising, but the true success is to turn your 30-seconds into new and returning customers.