3 Ways Brands Can Turn This Year's Super Bowl Ads Into A Three-Screen Experience

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Photo: Getty Images/Jeff Gross

Ah, the Super Bowl – the one day when Cheeseheads, Hogettes and ‘Who Dat-ers’ gather around oversized flat-screens alongside non-football fanatic friends to dissect not only the outcome of each play, but the impact of each ad.The 2012 Super Bowl lured in more than 111 million viewers, many eager to watch a great game, but possibly even more excited to see what the creative minds of the brands brought to the biggest advertising day of the year. Unfortunately for the consumers looking for the new and innovative, there wasn’t much to cheer about. Advertisers mostly overlooked the all-star lineup of technologies at their disposal to enhance viewer engagement. Those of us in the tech community were expecting to see our smartphones and tablets called into action. Instead, we were sidelined from the excitement.

As such, Super Bowl spectating is now a two, even three-screen experience. Advertisers need to adopt this mentality too. With social, mobile and tablet commerce continuing to thrive, we’re hoping to see more progressive and proactive attempts to wow us on Super Bowl Sunday. Here are the top strategies for brands to incorporate more cutting edge technologies to build buzz during, and even more crucially, following the Big Game.

1. Create Instant Gratification

According to a survey by InMobi, 39% of respondents used their mobile devices to engage with Super Bowl commercials last year, either to discuss commercials, get product information, or re-watch compelling ads. The bottom line: Consumers are willing and able to participate. Advertisers just need to place the bait.

Immediate incentives. Time-sensitive offers like discounts, text-to-win contests and sweepstakes are powerful motivators that inspire swift action. Last year, the NFL executed a basic yet brilliant campaign that prompted viewers to text “NFL” to enter into a million dollar drawing. The ad simultaneously encouraged fans to opt-in to a mobile page, where more prizes awaited.

Unique apps. Another viable way for advertisers to drive immediate engagement is to offer exclusive content and discount codes through unique mobile apps. 27% of respondents from InMobi’s survey said they downloaded a Super Bowl app in 2012 to unlock additional information or deals. Bud Light, for instance, stepped up its 2012 mobile efforts by running a commercial featuring musical sensation LMFAO, and then offering people who downloaded the app a remix on Shazam.

2. Spark Community Involvement

Super Bowl advertisers that neglect emerging social tools may as well forgo commercials showcasing exotic models and beer. The potency of social isn’t news, but its increasing ability to spark a profound sense of community is a compelling way for brands to drive engagement.

A 2012 Velti study of Super Bowl spectators revealed that nearly a third of viewers under the age of 45 planned to watch the game with a mobile device in hand, but just 13% planned to actually use their device during game play. In other words, social interactions are likely to surge during commercials. Techniques to capitalise on this are essential.

Check-in apps. Tools like GetGlue prompt users to check in to various entertainment channels, as opposed to physical locations, to receive exclusive extras like badges, discounts and content. Last year, brands that acquired the most mobile check-ins via GetGlue included Coca Cola, The Avengers, Doritos and Budweiser.

Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is already a major player in Super Bowl XLVII. In an effort to reach a younger audience, Ford’s Lincoln teamed up with Jimmy Fallon to leverage the comedian’s 7M Twitter followers, a much smaller reach than the Lincoln brand has itself. The campaign, called SteertheScript, invites followers to submit commercial ideas via Twitter and is a great way to encourage a participatory sense of community among viewers.

Social Calls to Action. “Shares” and “Likes” may sound like Social 101, but their organic potential can’t be overlooked. When Anheuser-Busch used branded tie-ins to reinforce its on-screen efforts in 2012, #MakeItPlatinum became the second most popular hashtag. More impressively, it transcended the fourth quarter, appearing 50,000 times thereafter.

Threshold programs. Whether advertised before or during the game, threshold programs offer a novel way to incentivise consumers on a widespread scale. During the 2013 Outback Bowl, Outback Steakhouse tapped into Michigan and South Carolina college football aficionados by advertising a free dish to all winning fans. In that vein, advertisers can offer product or service discounts for receiving a certain number of likes, shares or comments by halftime or the fourth quarter.

3:  Plan for the Future

Let’s face it, most people aren’t going to immediately reach out and buy your product during the game. So, what happens Monday morning? Each 3-4M dollar investment will only be as valuable as the connections they establish with consumers. How can you use your 30-second spot to spark the relationship that drives sales in the coming days, weeks and months? The key goal all advertisers should aspire to is convincing viewers to opt-in for future engagements. But how?

Marketers need to ask themselves what they can offer in exchange for our personal information. Some of the exclusive content, chance-to-win offers, once a year deals and charity tie-ins are among the most compelling ways advertisers can build an ongoing relationship with the consumer in the long run.

Beyond the Super Bowl

There’s no question that an effective Super Bowl ad can help brands make a momentary mark. But to be unforgettable and lead consumers down that critical path to purchase, advertisers have to move beyond recognition and awareness.

On the quest to turn unattached viewers into lifetime customers, advertisers must learn how to drive sales beyond February 3. With a bit of foresight, these suggestions can help engage the consumer more deeply than your father’s Super Bowl advertisement.

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