How Real-Time 'War Rooms' Are Like The Super Bowl Coin Toss

“Real-time marketing” at this year’s Super Bowl was less about reacting to unplanned moments and more about preplanned mini campaigns -- or the launch of new campaigns entirely.

According to Don Mathis, CEO of social marketing firm Kinetic Social, that was the plan all along.

Mathis said that Kinetic worked with several large agencies and brands in real-time marketing “war rooms” for this year’s Super Bowl and acknowledged that about 80% of the work was done in advance of the game. On the flip side, about 80% of the spend occurred during game day.

The size of the “war room” differed for each brand, but Mathis estimated about 8-10 people per brand were used this year. He said there were more people this year than last.

But at what point do these rooms become so elaborate, so filled with people, that it slows down a process that’s meant to be fast? The rooms become more involved, but the end result is the same: a single tweet.

It reminds me of something that has happened at the Super Bowl itself. Prior to this year’s game, NBC showed a fascinating picture from the first Super Bowl, played in 1967.

“We have come a long way, baby,” quipped NBC’s commentator Al Michaels, referring to the Super Bowl coin toss. “Now it takes a small village to get it done.”

He’s not wrong. Look at the images side by side, with Super Bowl I from 1967 on the left and Super Bowl XLIX from 2015 on the right.

Someone from the “small village” may muck it up, too. Just last year, honorary coin-flipper (really?) Joe Namath jumped the gun and flipped the coin before either team had called heads or tails. This year, to avoid a rogue coin flip -- which is literally the only point of the get-together anyway -- the NFL put the coin back in the referee’s hands.

I can’t help but think of the social media “war rooms” when looking at the Super Bowl coin toss. At what point is a rogue tweeter going to play the part of Joe Namath, causing a brand to pull back the reins the following year? We will call this “getting Namath’d” when it inevitably happens.

“Will you need people in rooms across America with enough monitors up to look like NASA?” asked Mathis. “Probably not in a couple of years.”

“But because it’s real-time, it will require more live human oversight than you would see in a [completely] preplanned campaign,” he continued. “It will always require some human element to it, but as it becomes increasingly automated, it minimizes the amount of people needed.”

1 comment about "How Real-Time 'War Rooms' Are Like The Super Bowl Coin Toss".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, February 9, 2015 at noon

    Was that "spend" on game day actually for media value and sales results, or for agency staff spent hanging around war rooms making stuff up in order to attempt cleverness?

Next story loading loading..