Super Bowl XLIX: 3 Tips To Score A Cross-Screen Creative Touchdown

The biggest advertising event of the year is here. Viewers all across the country will be glued to their televisions during this year’s Super Bowl, waiting for the latest tearjerker from Coca-Cola or for the latest hysteria inducing fan creation for Doritos.  

Huge budgets, extensive planning and tons of man hours go into these unforgettable 30-second spots. However, no matter how great your creative is, it won’t be a truly effective campaign unless it’s optimized across screens. Unfortunately, many are not.

We live in an always-on world of smartphones, tablets, laptops, connected TVs and Internet-connected gaming consoles. According to Nielsen, 41% of U.S. smartphone users use their phone at least once a day while also watching television. The same report noted that 45% of tablet users multitask between the device and the TV at least once a day, with 26% using both multiple times a day. So what about the ads we’re seeing in the palms of our hands, on our mobile devices?

Advertising has evolved into an interactive two-way conversation between brands and consumers, and the world’s largest annual sporting events are a perfect place to keep the conversation going.

Advertisers and brands should not just strive to be the most talked-about ad because of their creative. They should strive to be the most effective by device, and in a unified way across screens.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re making the most of creative and amplifying for cross-device reach.

1. Develop a consistent, creative theme across all devices

Colors, content, talent, and overall aesthetics should work in favor the overall brand campaign. Don’t diffuse the overall strategy by segmenting out the executions to a fault. Overall consistency matters.

However, unique ad execution of each device should still pique the viewer’s interest, regardless of whether they have seen the campaign on another device. The impact of cross-screen campaigns is often reduced by a lack a consistent theme throughout the targeted devices. According to a study we jointly conducted with Forrester71% of consumers react negatively to inconsistent brand experience.

A well-executed creative strategy will result in ads that can stand on their own, but will also contribute to the bigger experience of the overall campaign.

As an (admittedly nerdy) example, if you went to see "The Empire Strikes Back" without having seen the original "Star Wars," the words “Luke, I am your father” would be a big deal. But, If you went to see "The Empire Strikes Back" after seeing the first "Star Wars" movie (Ep. VI), then those four words blew your mind.

Bottom line: Individual ads can stand alone, but the entire brand oeuvre should work well together.

2. Devices are interactive. Embrace that capability with interactive design

You created an excellent TV ad, which has been very successful in driving awareness. Obviously it makes sense to repurpose that same exact ad for mobile, right?

Not necessarily.

Television is undoubtedly a very strong avenue for a one-way message, but the strength of that one-way strategy becomes diminished when implemented on a mobile device that is built to be interactive.

Repurposing an ad from television to naturally interactive devices shortchanges the user experience, the ad experience, and you, the advertiser.

Instead, use each device’s individual strengths to play up your creative. Engage on interactive devices and be passive on non-interactive.

For example, short video snippets work well on mobile, while microsite functionality within ads works well on tablets (more canvas space = more features).

3. Take advantage of that Super Bowl spend - before, during and after the game

An ad in the 2015 Super Bowl costs nearly $4.5 million! For that kind of spend, your brand should be taking advantage of every opportunity to make the investment worthwhile.

For the rollout plan of your crown-jewel TV ad, consider what a movie studio does for their release. They build hype, release the film and then work the post-release buzz. Treat your Super Bowl ad the same way.

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