Commentary

Help Brands Score This Super Bowl: 5 Trends

In the midst of the NFL playoffs, we’re seeing brands take advantage of top ad spots and pro-athlete action as teams gear up for the final showdown of the season -- Super Bowl XLVII. Fans across the country are making predictions about their teams and pulling out their favorite chip-and-dip combos to watch the final games with much anticipation and enthusiasm.

With such a captive audience, advertising strategies from past sporting events offer a precedent for many digital events to come, both for their successes and failures (such as the NBC Olympic delays). Today’s consumers want to engage with brands beyond traditional advertising, and companies recognize this growing trend and hope to connect with their customers on a variety of device types.

The Super Bowl is the high point of the football season and traditionally the most popular time for advertising. Here  are six tips to help brands connect with NFL fans across the country.

Be flexible and fast.

Reacting quickly to plays in the game can have a significant positive impact on an advertisement.Targeting a user on a hyper-timely topic before competing brands have a chance to react is critical. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, for example, consumers were impressed with AT&T’s quick reaction to an event that happened only moments before a commercial for Samsung Galaxy. In the 30-second spot, a female swimmer watches Olympic swimmer Rebecca Soni break the world record for the 200-meter breast stroke, right after it happened in real-time. That moment when Rebecca Soni won gold in the 200-meter breast stroke is now associated with the Samsung Galaxy. That's powerful brand association. During the Super Bowl, campaigns need to be flexible to have more impact, and to do that, technology must be in place that allows for these rapid changes and dynamic optimization.

Brands that are not prepared for traffic spikes will frustrate consumers with buffering issues.

Engaging with consumers during major sporting events can produce favorable results for brands. It can also put strains on Web sites by quickly generating traffic spikes. Brands need to have the resources in place to accommodate the digital-minded consumer while reducing latency problems and downtime. Partnering with a third-party vendor can help to offload some of the strain and ensure that quality content is delivered dynamically and uninterrupted. 

Advertisers will connect with consumers where they are relative to location and device type.

Mobile device users are accessing live content on their devices more and more, especially to stay current with their favorite sports teams when a TV might not be available. At a minimum, marketers need to serve ads relevant to consumers' geographies with location-based offers, making sure a Ravens fan doesn’t see an ad for Tom Brady promoting Uggs. With advancements in technology and capabilities, it's easier to drive more traffic to Web sites through mobile devices or the desktop. Brands can now more effectively target users and serve up content to any device.

Relevant stories will make brands appear more real and uplifting.

If you’re targeting consumers watching the NFL, you already know at least one thing they are interested in -- football. Live sporting events offer unique opportunities for brands to make their ads more relevant by capitalizing on the content that consumers are watching. Wouldn’t it make sense to air an ad with Tom Brady during a New England Patriots game, since you already know that it will pique the interest of most people watching? Sports media also offer a unique opportunity for brands to build on the excitement of a live event to connect with viewers’ everyday life. Ads will resonate well with consumers -- and more importantly, can inspire them if themes mirror the programming.

Brands won’t forget to socialize.

Brands will integrate and publicize their social presence during major media events. Call it the “socialization of the NFL,” or the media event du jour. Brands can also leverage traditional advertising to drive users to their mobile apps and social networks. We have seen companies like Bud Light do this already, and we’re sure to see much more of it during the Super Bowl. By placing calls to action on the big screen, you can drive consumer engagement on the second screen. Oh -- and don’t forget to target those Fantasy Football fans by optimizing your content for online delivery to any device.

Social media, mobile technology and the accessibility of online video have all contributed to the changing advertising landscape. As content is increasingly consumed anytime and anywhere, and as real-time ads become a marketing priority, we will see many traditional brands and newcomers begin to leverage more digital channels through online streaming or mobile device strategies.

What advertising trends are you expecting to see this Super Bowl season?

 

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