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.
This website exists for market research purposes only and is not affiliated with or endorsed by the National Football League, television networks, social media services or the brand identified in any reports.