E-Mail And The Super Bowl: A Sorry Tale

My office is right on Broadway, near Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, and our windows face the street. That means that a few hours ago we had a full house pressed against the glass watching the ticker-tape parade for the Giants. It was quite a sight, even for a world weary, non-sports guy like myself. The roar of the crowd outside my window made working impossible, so we put out some snacks, invited the neighbors, and watched the show.

We decided to put together a white paper on how brands advertising on the Super Bowl used email, if at all, to drive interest pre-game, and how they handled the post-game sign-ups to their site. The raw data is still being collected so I won't have a full report for you for at least another week or so, but it is interesting to look at some of the early results.

The most interesting thing is just how little email seems to have played a role in one of the biggest marketing events of the year. Companies spending millions on one minute Super Bowl spots apparently spent little, if any, time thinking about how email might fit into the overall mix.



Bridgestone sent out emails promoting the fact that they are the official tire of the Super Bowl (and who doesn't want an official Super Bowl tire?). Budweiser actually was quite clever in tying its online commercials into both an email campaign, a Web site, and a mobile marketing campaign. Weeks before the Super Bowl, you could see an "unaired" Super Bowl ad as well as enter a sweepstakes where you voted for your favorite Bud ad through your phone. Kudos to the marketing folks at Budweiser!

Everyone else got an F in 360% marketing. Almost no one in the preliminary data I've looked at so far integrated the Super Bowl into any of their email marketing efforts. What a loss and waste of money.

Come on, people! If you are going to spend more than the GNP of a small South American country for 60 seconds of airtime, how about throwing a few pennies to develop an ongoing communications channel with some of those eyeballs (a large percentage of which, I can guarantee you, were sitting with their laptops on their Barcaloungers scanning their email and checking in with their bookies.)

My only explanation is that the Super Bowl seems to be the only marketing channel left that is still run by the old regime. The got their box seats when these Internet whippersnapping geeks were in diapers, and they are not going to give them up now! If an outrageously expensive ad campaign with no hope of measurement, ROI, or call-to-action was good enough for my clients then, it is good enough for them now.

Or maybe I just ate too much candy at the Super Bowl parade party.

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