Using social, search and data analysis to uncover which marketers’ Big Game efforts are contributing the most value to their brand.

some analysis

2.4.13

THE SUPER BOWL: AN INVESTMENT. NOT A SPLASH.

By: Joe Parrish

It will be a few weeks before we determine the true “winner” of this year’s Super Bowl ad-game. Why? Because advertising should be an investment in brand growth...not a disconnected one-off that gets a chuckle at the annual Super Bowl party. Our ultimate winner will be based on how well game time commercials drove evaluation and, ultimately, contributed to an increase in brand value. The media news cycle cares about who wins on Monday. But the CMO news cycle is considerably longer than that.

Today, we will post “short-term winners” based on Twitter mentions and increase in Social Work rate (mass of consumers multiplied by the acceleration of the brand over time). But real “winner”, the one CMO's and investors and analysts pay the most attention to, will be revealed over time.

As for this year’s Super Bowl, it was interesting from a social perspective for a variety of reasons:

After the blackout (plus the perceived blow-out of a game), social Super Bowl activity slowed down considerably.

Tweets were down 30%. Facebook statuses were down 25%. YouTube views of brands were down 15%.

Brands were helpless to stop the attrition. Except for the handful of brands who understood that The Super Bowl was an investment, and rather than shelling out millions of dollars and going to a party to see how great their work was, they had a plan in place for taking advantage for real-time opportunities that might present themselves.

Audi and Oreo embodied what today's marketers need to be when they are committed to building their brand through the Super Bowl -- engaging, relevant and always on. They were prepared for every opportunity to relevantly extend their spends. Oreo pulled together a nice piece of creative, inviting consumers to dunk in the dark. Audi took a subtle and clever shot at one of their fiercest competitors.

What happened? Oreo engaged, almost 3x more consumers and got an additional 1.5x more impressions. For Audi -- 2x and 3.5x respectively. They were paying attention and looking to maximize their Super Bowl involvement. They weren't lucky. They were engaging, relevant and always-on.

Will this be the year that we see a few nimble brands manage to have earned media outpace paid media?

We can guarantee you this...next year every brand will have a library of Tweets ready to address any conceivable situation. But by then, it will be so last year.

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1.24.13

SIR ISAAC WAS A MARKETING GENIUS

By: Bill Grizack

Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Big Game advertisers are certainly hoping that they are creating an “unbalanced force” before and during the most watched television event annually. Their intent is to create additional momentum for their brands and place them on new, growth-orientated trajectories.

After all, with the largest consumer mass positioned to consume a brand idea, one can only expect that we will get more momentum (momentum = mass*velocity; more mass must mean more momentum).

So, why does a Big Game ad not always work?

The answer is simple once you apply physics. In today’s age, ideas are put into the hands of consumers, and it is their action with those ideas that determines the success or failure of a campaign. Consumers amplify or slow the momentum of an idea through their interactions with it. We clearly must respect the laws of physics and use those laws to understand which ideas are moving and which are not.

In coming weeks, The Variable and McKinney will apply Newton’s first law to understand how much work is created for (by?) each of the Big Game advertisers. We will also measure that work to answer key questions -- was the impact of an ad positive or negative? How closely does the idea connect to a brand and to consumer values? All of this will culminate in an ultimate winner -- not based only on talk, but on how much energy was created by consumers for the brand.

So who will win and why? Right now, no one can predict the outcome. But we do know that the winners and losers won't be determined by creative brilliance alone, but by how consumers take an idea and run with it. As Sir Isaac said, “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.” We hope to at least measure that madness.

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1.24.13

SOCIAL BOWL ROMAN NUMERAL TWO

By: Jim Russell

Welcome to Social Bowl II. Yes, using Roman Numerals is pretentious, especially when you are at ‘II’. But that’s fine; the Super Bowl itself and the hype surrounding it can be pretentious.

Super Bowl ads, on the other hand, are not. Brands put it all on the playing field. They overachieve and sometimes overreach. And for good reason – by advertising in the Super Bowl, a brand gets the largest U.S. viewership possible, and it also gets something more valuable — a public that is actively interested in advertising! If ever there was an opportunity to position a brand in our American culture, this is it.

But does advertising in the Super Bowl usually net a spectacular ROI? What are the best practices that drive ephemeral buzz and, more importantly, lasting returns? We founded Social Bowl to answer these deeper efforts.

Last year, we chose 35 advertisers to study and collected data on 30 variables related to their marketing efforts. Then we crunched, munched and correlated the numbers to see what was important. We uncovered some pretty important findings:

Creative really matters. The brands with the best TV creative, as deemed by the people, experienced the most social momentum and digital interest. And more importantly, that momentum lasted weeks longer than those with merely “average” creative. Simply put, if you want people to talk about your brand, give them something to talk about.

Launch your ad like the studios launch their movies. Last year, 83 percent of the brands unveiled their spots ahead of the game. And for good reason: hundreds of thousands of social mentions were garnered based on these prereleases. But now there’s clutter in the prerelease strategy. In the week before the game, 60 percent of all brands launched their ads. CMOs need to pick a release date that is not crowded with big, tent pole brands like VW or Chevy. We also learned the release game plan should factor in the social strategy, the personality of the brand and the TV spot itself. Is it a star-heavy blockbuster like “The Avengers”? Or a long, intriguing tease like “The Blair Witch Project”? A cohesive strategy that blends paid and shared media is essential.

And our curiosity has not ebbed. This year, McKinney has teamed with the Variable, a data-driven insight and brand innovation lab. The Variable has invented a quantifiable method for determining the effectiveness of Super Bowl advertising – a method that has been battle tested through analysis of the 2012 Summer Olympics and world-wide sentiment surrounding the upcoming World Cup. This year, we will be using The Variable’s tool kit, and focusing primarily on automotive brands – a more thorough study within an industry should yield more insights.

Most of all, we’ll get to scratch our itch for understanding what it takes for brands to create talked about work. And for that we are excited and grateful. Please drop us a line if there is anything you would like us to investigate.

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mckinney The Variable

BRANDS WE ARE TRACKING: