Over the years, Super Bowl advertising has changed greatly, but we’re still in a transitional period. While we celebrate the accomplishment of creating a Super Bowl ad (especially for first-time brands), the awareness-building potential goes well beyond 30 seconds of air-time during one of the biggest global live viewing moments of the year.
Today, the act of creating a Super Bowl ad has become a month-long, integrated, cross-channel endeavor that requires a whole different strategy. As brands transition from creating a memorable and/or funny 30-second piece of content to developing a cross-platform experience, loaded with ways to explore high-touch, lengthy immersions, it’s critical to have the right strategies in place to enable these high-impact experiences.
During the 2015 Super Bowl game, which had an average global audience of 160 million people, we saw brands pre-release their ads two weeks in advance of the actual game. Dove posted a 60-second version of their “Real Strength” ad online on January 19th, along with the corresponding hashtag #realstrength to drive conversations on social media.
While the notion of a “big reveal” is still deeply ingrained with many traditional advertisers, pre-releasing a Super Bowl ad is rapidly becoming the norm with brands looking to increase exposure with the same piece of creative. Through paid, earned and owned media, Super Bowl ads are watched on multiple channels in a variety of countries, justifying their price tags even before they officially air.
This cross-channel strategy isn’t just relegated to the Super Bowl. Pepsi targeted soccer audiences with “Now is What You Make It” Campaign, which included 30- and 60-second ad spots, along with an interactive video that unlocked additional content for engaged viewers.
Timed to launch around the World Cup, this campaign integrated television and digital to create an experience that was unique to each viewer based on how they interacted with the content. Audiences expect a level of personalization (often derived from localization) with the brands they interact with; one well-timed ad spot simply will not deliver true engagement.
A cross-channel strategy is more than just delivering the same content across a variety of screens and platforms. It means interacting with audiences through personalized dynamic creative that speaks to them before, during and long after the 30 -second spot airs.
While a Super Bowl ad is a chance to reach audiences on a massive scale, it also provides brands an unprecedented opportunity to segment, re-engage and deliver more personalized experiences across multiple channels.
If an advertiser is not focused on augmenting their Super Bowl 50 marketing strategy to reach specific, in market audiences across the globe, they’re severely limiting the overall performance of a significant investment.
If a brand has the resources to purchase a $5 million 30-second Super Bowl slot featuring the NFL’s top quarterback, why not create 32 localized versions with less expensive retired players, and target local audiences with a message that connects directly to them?
Last year, Web site development company Wix emerged with a similar tactic. It rolled out 26 pre-game teaser ads across 16 different social accounts to drive engagement with audiences well beyond the massive 120 million viewers for last year’s Super Bowl. This is the kind of thinking brands have to embrace to cut through the noise.
Linear television still suffers many of the same limitations it has had since its inception. Television advertising is still purchased on broad demographics that often leave brands overspending on their media. Again, it is powerful, but a successful marketing campaign means developing an all-encompassing digital strategy that takes into account mobile, social, video and display.
With social media affording brands the opportunity to engage with audiences in real-time, there is more incentive for marketers to optimize for an integrated campaign strategy that looks beyond television. Brands often pull out all the stops to create their 30-second moment during the Super Bowl, but are they really doing the same simultaneously in international markets on multiple channels?
By focusing on longer narratives to engage target audiences through dynamic creative and more personalized communication that is optimized for conversion, Super Bowl advertising can be more than just a flash in the pan moment. By incorporating campaigns across channels, brands can surpass the goals they initially set for themselves.