Super Bowl XLVII: The Bird is the Word

I was very excited about watching the game Sunday night. It was the first time I have been able to watch the game since having kids, and my oldest is six. I had a very scientific approach, carrying around a notebook and logging every TV spot’s call to action.

Unscientifically, my gut feeling is 70% of the ads had a social component (mostly hash tags) when you filtered out all of the NFL and ABC branding.  The big takeaways for me are:

1. Brands are moving chatter back to the public domain

Between 2011 and 2012, the in vogue thing was to send everyone to Facebook. I saw several brands taking down their sites to go “all in” there. Moving those conversations to Facebook does little for brands, considering the natural tendency is for people to engage with their own carefully maintained social networks. The peer-to-peer chatter on Facebook is often impossible for marketers to view when users have their profiles set properly.

Twitter conversations, however, are easily indexed by social listening tools and allow us to gather rich consumer insights as well as determine how well topics are trending in popular culture.

Hyundai gets my vote for being most thoughtful in assigning a specific thematic hashtag to each of its spots. They can now monitor which specific spots are generating the most conversation and industry buzz.

2. Websites + social integration = where it’s at!

Jeep, Lincoln, Pepsi, Coke — these brands get it.  As the cornerstone of our “owned” properties, marketers need a hub, or a place to aggregate all of the content, engagement and action around a brand story.

Integrating social content within a website is an ideal way to cross promote channels in a holistic multichannel strategy.  Pepsi and Jeep did a nice job of bringing social content into their sites, while Coke and Lincoln used their social properties to crowd source content for the ads themselves.

The bottom line: we have the most control and influence over driving users to action on our own sites.

3. Critical mass and engagement in one channel can translate beautifully to another

As far as I am concerned, Oreo is easily the real winner of the big game. Yes, they earn a solid “well played” for their guerrilla style (and visually perfect) response to the power outage. Yet for me, the real win was the cross channel perfection they executed.

What do you do when you already have more than 31 million Facebook fans that are highly engaged? Mobilize your base to stand up an entirely new channel and gain new followers on another social platform – Instagram in this case. As of today, the current count is over 50,000 and rising.

And for what it’s worth, I actually thought they had the funniest spot too. Check it out here (that’s right, I sent you to the site).

Connecting all the dots

The NFL masterfully extended their ad relevance past one “big game” minute. The league used an NFL Draft commercial to spark social conversation and ultimately drive to its own (owned) website.

  • The clever commercial, advertising for the NFL draft through the emergence of “Leon Sandcastle.”
  • Immediately after establishing the Leon Sandcastle character in the spot, the NFL started Leon’s Twitter account and gained 15k followers its first night.
  • Leon has been tweeting with links to the website & draft coverage.
  • The commercial & web follow up have also lead to Twitter parody accounts, with peers joking & talking about the NFL draft.

Overall, the NFL established a web persona that can drive to their off-season coverage (centered on the NFL Draft) & help the brand to stay relevant while its players are on vacation.

I had a blast watching the game. During the actual game I was up and moving about, but as soon as they cut to commercial, I was glued to my seat.

Thank you Matt McGee from for doing the scientific work by cataloging all of the specific CTAs in each spot in your article Game Over: Twitter Mentioned In 50% Of Super Bowl Commercials, Facebook Only 8%, Google+ Shut Out.

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