One of the big advertising trends leading up to this year’s Super Bowl was the increase in the number of brands releasing their Super Bowl ads online prior to the big game.
The strategy works because it allows brands to get their messages to the public before consumers are bombarded with a ton of pitches Super Bowl Sunday, and it extends the time period during which people will talk about their ad campaigns.
New research from the online marketing company Kontera, however, suggests that there is also some value left in waiting for the game to share your message with everyone at the same time.
The company tracked online consumption, which it defines as the frequency people see a given brand online, before and after the Super Bowl, and found that late releasers Chrysler and Coca-Cola enjoyed huge spikes after showing never-before-seen, conversation-starting ads during the game.
Here’s Kontera’s chart for consumption of auto brands, pegged to the peak consumption of the brands involved during the 10 days before the Super Bowl and two days following it.
The blue line on top is Ford, which typically is consumed more online, but check out the spike of the green line, Chrysler, after it unveiled its controversial ad starring Bob Dylan at the Super Bowl. Chrysler’s average consumption isn’t as high as rivals that released ads in the run-up to the game, like Audi or Volkswagen, but its peak is significantly higher.
The same was true of Coke, which employed a best-of-both-worlds strategy of releasing one ad before the Super Bowl and one during the game.
The brand’s consumption spiked due to conversation about its “It’s Beautiful” ad, which upset xenophobes by showing ethnic minority Americans singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages. The online discussion was then amplified when people who liked the ad’s message took to the internet to shout down the people who didn’t.
Budweiser had the most post-game discussion of any of the Super Bowl brands, likely due to commentary about how its “Puppy Love” ad, released in the week before the game, was the best and most popular commercial of the game.
Still, the success of Coke and Chrysler shows that if brands have something that’s worth saying and that people will actually want to talk about, there could be some incentive to waiting to share the message with the largest TV audience of the year.
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