With every January comes the bevy of media about Super Bowl commercials. And every year the dominating questions remain the same:
Which commercial will be the funniest? Which commercial will be the most memorable? Which commercial will create a viral frenzy?
You get the idea.
Despite all the effort, a lot of these commercials won’t be remembered. But smart marketers are beginning to realise there is life after the game – and before it.
For the last four years Levelwing has executed digital campaign initiatives tied to the Super Bowl for our client, Bridgestone.
Bridgestone has sponsored the last four Super Bowl Halftime Shows and aired two commercials in each of those years (including this year in Super Bowl XLV). And it’s no secret that the air time is not cheap, even for a single 30-second commercial spot. So, after all those millions are spent, where do you go from there?
Well, the work actually begins before the ink on the check is dry. It all starts with the integration of digital and social media elements into the overall activation.
Let’s take it from the top…
November 2010: We begin digital and social Super Bowl strategic planning. The regular season is in full swing, but one big event is on our minds. We begin by considering how much to budget digitally to support the offline campaign, what social platforms to use, how to engage the consumer and most importantly, how to measure and track the success of those initiatives.
December 2010: All the elements begin to take shape. The budget has been finalised, the elements to be executed are confirmed and the engagement metrics are determined.
Early January 2011: The playoffs are going strong, but we’re already looking forward—past the next playoff game—to the Super Bowl. Final media negotiations take place. Insertion Orders are signed (you know those of us in the digital world loathe paperwork, yet it is a must). Research studies are approved. Paid search campaign elements are constructed and approved. Video search elements are completed in similar fashion. The Super Bowl commercial rating sites are mapped. The YouTube Channel is double-checked. The Facebook Fan Page is readied for launch. Twitter timelines and tweets are outlined, all of the social elements are linked together to maximise share functions, and so on and so on…
Late-January 2011: Press hits the wires. Super Bowl commercial spot “teasers” hit the Internet, as well as all appropriate social media platforms. We launch the Facebook Fan Page, YouTube Channel elements and Twitter discussions as well as research studies and social media monitoring. In addition, paid search and video search support launches along with other paid digital media elements.
Today: So, here we are, a few days before the game. All media elements are running smoothly; social chatter and message board postings are being monitored on all the likely candidates as well as unlikely ones. But our job is not complete yet – far from it actually. We have a team of folks measuring, monitoring and executing various digital elements each day up through the game, as well as a few days after.
The main point here is the Super Bowl may be a fleeting few hours and those commercial spots a minute in total, but digital pre/post game elements are 24 hours a day, seven days a week for three weeks straight – and that does not take into consideration the strategic planning and ancillary elements. Therefore, it should not be a fleeting thought.
A lot has been made of social media in the last few years, but now it’s time to play ball. The keys to success are in smart strategic planning, integration, execution and detailed measurement. Accountability and cohesiveness is what will determine if your brand fails or succeeds. Importantly, never assume social media is defined as only Twitter and Facebook. Don’t overlook YouTube and other video sites, photo and image sharing sites, community sites such as LinkedIn, blogs and many others. Social media means friends sharing with friends, and there are a variety of viable tools consumers are using to communicate.
A successful Super Bowl ad is no longer just a game of strong creative. It lives and breathes off the field long after the last player has said he’s going to Disney World. 2011 is the year brands use Social Media to go big or go home at the Super Bowl. Watch, click and learn.
Stay tuned in the days after the Super Bowl for updates on the results. Follow Levelwing on Twitter @levelwing and read our blog Asking Smarter Questions via @ASKSQ.
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