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Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting the Most out of Pricey Super Bowl Ads

I’m sure I’m not the only one who settled down in front of the TV yesterday with the promise of some entertaining commercials. While I wasn’t blown away by any ads in particular, there were a few entertaining ones. My personal favorites were Budweiser’s “Brotherhood,” Coca-Cola’s “Security Camera,” Tide’s “Miracle Stain,” Ram Trucks’ “Farmer,” and Kia’s “Space Babies.” Click here if youmissed any of the ads. 

What I find more fascinating is how the companies are trying to milk the spots for all they’re worth and getting attention for them beyond just Sunday’s screen time. I don’t blame them, since a 30 second spot between kickoff and the final whistle cost an average of $4 million. All advertisers can really hope to do is capture viewers’ attention for 30 to 60 seconds, so it’s interesting to see how they attempt to bridge a single advertisement to a more long-lasting brand experience.

·         Before the big game:

o   Controversy – In the week prior to the game, I heard more about some of the controversial ads set to hit the airwaves than the game itself. Of course, this could be because I never turn on ESPN. But I saw numerous “news” reports and articles debating whether or not Coca-Cola’s “Mirage” and Volkswagen’s “Get Happy” ads were offensive. Both of these companies got loads of free air time leading up to the airing of the actual spot because of this coverage. It makes me wonder if tipping off the debate was part of their release strategies.

o   User-Created Super Bowl Ads – Doritos made a smart move with their user-created Super Bowl ad contest. Not only did they not have to pay anything to come up with the ad concepts themselves, they received an incredible amount of free publicity. Doritos leveraged the opportunity of long-term engagement with their consumer base thanks to the ad creators encouraging people to vote for their submissions on various social media channels.

·         During the Game: While Coca-Cola had one of my favorite ads, they also turned out a big dud with “Mirage.” The concept of bridging from a TV ad to real-time online connection is really interesting, but the ad has to be really awesome to convince people to put down the TV remote and pick up their mobile device to vote. The fact that the power outage trended higher on Twitter than voting for the winner of their race just proves that they missed the mark on this one.

·         Post-game: Again, thanks to the Internet all of the Super Bowl ads will get more screen time for at least another day or two. There are countless rehashes and rankings of all the ads, as well as people watching the ads they missed or their favorites for a second time. What’s more interesting to me is when advertisers have an innovative post-game tactic as part of their release strategy, like what Dodge Ram is doing with “Farmer.” I received an email this morning that included the spot and encouraged me to share the ad with my contact list. For every “share,” Ram will make a donation to FFA, an agriculture leadership organization for young people. This strategy not only guarantees them free publicity but it also ups the good feelings about the brand itself.  

I can’t wait to see what new ideas the ad teams come up with to get the most out of their multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads next year.   
~ Nicole

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