My New York Giants are in the Super Bowl. They’ll be playing Sunday against the New England Patriots; the team I loathe the most. I’ll be in Florida at the iMedia Marketers Summit. And yes, while I’ll be tuning in to watch the game…to root for my Giants, I’ll be tuning in as much, if not more for the ads. The stage that is the Super Bowl is a marketer’s dream. Your idea, your creative, your hard work is on display for all the world to see. Creative Directors get geeked out on the idea of having a Super Bowl ad to include in their “reel.” That’s how this business works. We’re all about ego. Me included. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to work on two spots that made it to the Super Bowl. They were proud moments.
As a marketer, it’s been interesting to watch Super Bowl ads evolve into Super Bowl campaigns. Campaign, you might ask? Sure. We have seen the Super Bowl “ad” morph into an ad that has a web site dedicated to the campaign, paid search (if you’re a smart company) to help people find your ad, pre-launching/seeding of the ad ahead of the Super Bow, the solicitation of customer feedback, the gaming of the USA Today Ad Meter and oh so much more. As technology has evolved and user behavior changed (eg 3 screens) advertisers have swung, hit and missed. Last year, I wrote a post titled, “10 Mistakes 2011 Super Bowl Advertisers Will Make” and in looking at it this morning, I think advertisers are destined to make at least 5 of them. Which 5? Glad you asked:
- The call to action (URL, SMS, etc.) will be too small and come at the end of the ad
- Paid search to drive people, interested in the ad or who remember the ad, won’t be bought
- There will be too much emphasis on Facebook
- Mobile optimized sites will be forgotten…instead Flash heavy experiences will be used
- Proper load balancing for their hosting environment won’t be implemented – this will mean someone’s site will go down and people wanting to get an offer won’t be able to
Our consumers have gotten smarter, but have the advertisers? This year should be an interesting test for marketers. We’ll have a combination of elements converging to make for one heck of a cocktail. Real time social media monitoring will be used to gauge consumer feedback, mobile will become a big player, monetizing across 3 screens will be critical, and oh so much more. The Super Bowl places your work under a microscope. Consumers, analysts, pundits, your own employees and more provide their often unsolicited thoughts, opinions and feedback. When you spend $3M for just the air time, it’s too be expected.
The question I often ask is why do marketers use the Super Bowl as a lab? Sure, you could have done consumer concept testing beforehand, but when you invest nearly 5M (airtime and production) for 1 day, that work better be top notch and deliver. In 2010, I think Google really hit the nail on the head and showed how to rethink the concept of Super Bowl Advertising. They ran a spot called “Parisian Love.”
That spot wasn’t a new spot. In fact it had been out in the wild on the web for several months. Google created several of these videos and ran the best performing one on the biggest stage. Now, that’s smart…use data and insights to determine which commercial to run. Why aren’t we using more data driven insights? Why are we still saving our “best” for the Super Bowl instead of giving our “best” throughout the year? It’s a fair question when you consider how much data is readily available for us, as marketers, to leverage.
I’m hoping this is the year Super Bowl advertising evolves…grows up…and becomes something more than than a stage for ego driven Creative Directors and Chief Marketing Officers to demonstrate they know how to spend lots of money really fast.