Remember that football game that was played just five days ago? How about the ads in the game?
Chatter on social channels about the ads dropped almost immediately after the Super Bowl ended. In fact, social media tracking service Trendrr found that buzz around the brands in the Super Bowl died off dramatically by Monday with a few exceptions. “Some brands, like H&M, Doritos, and Audi, saw as much as 5 to 10 times the conversation during the airing of the game as they would on a normal day,” said Alex Nagler, TV Network liaison at Trendrr. “Once the game was over (and in some instances once the hour-long halo of the spot had passed), those brands had returned to their normal levels of conversation,” he said. By mid-week, the Super Bowl advertisers had all returned to their pre-Super Bowl levels of online chatter.
Is that because brands release the ads too early? Marketers such as Honda with its Ferris Bueller ad and Volkswagen with its Bark Side video got a nice social boost before the game and were also among the top-rated ads in the game, according to the Ace Metrix Poll that surveyed TV viewers.
But I have another proposition. What if rather than releasing ads early just for the sake of releasing them early, brands actually harnessed the power of the Web and social media to make better, more memorable, and more lasting ads? Ads that don’t die out minutes after the spot airs. We’re seeing progress made in tapping into the Web as a testing ground. For its annual Super Bowl ad ranking, USA Today used its traditional focus group, but also teamed up with Facebook to let the public vote on the best ads.
What if instead of pre-releasing the ads a few days before the game, brands actually tested them months before via online video? What if Hulu showcased potential Super Bowl ads throughout the year and let viewers vote on the best ones? What if viewers could give feedback to brands on which ones were best? Or, what if that feedback were more passive and based on, perhaps, completion rates? Or interaction with the ads? Or clickthroughs, or shares? What if marketers used all that wonderful data to inform which spot, or type of spot, wound up in the big game?
WPP’s audience buying company, Xaxis, has been testing this tactic with advanced TV buyers in a few countries where marketers will run a video campaign online before it runs on TV to see how the creative performs and which users respond.
Maybe then the buzz wouldn’t die out. Maybe the ads would be better.