Super Bowl or #BrandBowl?
The National Football League may have its teams throughout the US, but football is popular on both sides of the border. The Canadian Football League's Grey Cup is one of Canada's most watched sporting events and the Super Bowl is a big deal here too.
Perhaps you were like me and went outside before the game to throw the pigskin around. Then, maybe you sat down in front of a huge television screen with some friends, pizza, chicken wings and malted-beverages. Also like me, you might have been keeping an eye on Twitter and Facebook and those ever-popular ads.
Yes, it was #BrandBowl Sunday and all eyes were on the big game: which would be the day's best ad campaign?
Offline is online
The web, smartphones and social media have changed the advertising world. Brands need to bring more than celebrities and animated frogs doing something funny for 30 seconds to generate water-cooler chatter on Super Bowl Monday. Today it's far more complicated.
Advertisers need to integrate traditional (TV, print and radio) advertising campaigns through social channels. They need to extend their reach across second (desktop and laptop), third (tablet) and fourth (smartphone) screens. An ad's impact outlasts Super Bowl Monday with continued viewing on YouTube and sharing through social media outlets. Eli Manning will be back in training camp while people are still talking about Clint Eastwood's emotive 'Halftime In America' ad.
Don't believe me? This year, Super Bowl ads for Audi, Bridgestone, Hulu and General Electric all included Twitter hashtags while Budweiser drove traffic to Facebook pages. Coca Cola directed viewers to www.cokepolarbowl.com. With so many socially integrated ads, Twitter launched AdScrimmage—a dedicated site where fans can “Watch, vote and tweet your favorite Super Bowl® commercial”.
Brands can use celebrities and humour, but social and web integration is key to long-lasting and measurable campaigns—did someone say ROI?
A Canadian example
This year, Budweiser launched a Super Bowl ad campaign exclusive to the Canadian market. Budweiser's film crew told two small town beer-league hockey teams they were making a documentary. While filming a game, 500 screaming 'fans' invaded the stadium, broadcasters announced the play-by-play, while mascots used t-shirt guns to shoot prizes into the crowd. The weekend-warrior players could hardly believe their eyes—it was a dream come true. The footage was turned into a Canada-only Super Bowl ad and drove fans to www.facebook.com/budweisercanada. Once there, fans could watch the 'Flash Fans' ad. Budweiser supported the campaign with Facebook ads, promoted Tweets and a #BudSuperBowlAd hashtag. The videos can also be viewed on the Budweiser website. Brilliant.
Offense, defense and special teams
Like New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and his offensive, defensive and special team game plans, marketers and agencies must ensure campaign elements are executed and integrated seamlessly––both offline and online.
Stories told through television, radio and print will direct users to spread the campaign on Twitter, engage extended versions on Facebook and YouTube, and interact with supporting content on landing pages and microsites.
Today's sophisticated consumer and 'webutante' expects it ,and today's marketer wouldn't have it any other way. This degree of measurability and consumer interaction would have been unthinkable at the first Super Bowl in 1967.
Next year, millions will gather around televisions worldwide to watch the Super Bowl. It will probably draw a larger audience than this year's record 111.3 million viewers (8.15 million Canadians tuned in). Again, fans will have their laptops, tablets and smartphones in-hand. We may also watch the game on a web and socially-integrated Smart TV. And again, fans will share highs and lows online. Who can blame us? It is the #BrandBowl after all.