I have this nagging feeling that when marketing strategies are assembled for the Super Bowl, a placard is put on the conference room door that says: “Digital Commerce Mavens, Stay Away. At least that’s the impression I have after the snoozefest that was #SB48. The game was never in doubt, which gave me time to ponder the art and science behind many of the much ballyhooed ads. Overall, I had the impression that such themes as ‘80s revivals, amorous bovines, cars with magical powers and soda pop that makes you feel patriotic, were conceived with little more than a passing thought as to the immediate, direct impact on consumer purchases. You can wax on about the wonders of branding, and I have colleagues who would object to my assertion, but to the best of my knowledge, you can’t eat a Clio Award. Digital commerce speaks to the notion of capturing the hot lead, not hoping that a savvied car buyer recalls a clever ad seen months ago when he or she enters the Thunderdome that is a new car showroom.
I have watched 47 of 48 Super Bowls missing the 1985 49ers victory while my wife and I were sunning ourselves on a beach in Uruguay. Like most sports-oriented couch potatoes, I have my Super Bowl favorites (which generally involve the Budweiser Clydesdales) but can’t think of an ad that led me to click, call or race to the store to buy what I just saw on screen. In an age where ACR technology in conjunction with second screen apps makes pretty much any sort of fast-twitch buying experience possible, I believe the 2014 Big Game was light on the “cool beans” meter.
A few examples:
• I am a fan of Shazam, but unless you have your finger on the app prior to the 30-second spot, much like a game show contestant, your ability to claim you on-screen reward requires the prowess of a Madden Football geek. I did find out, via a delayed Tweet, that Shazam offers a post-ad method to score the download, coupon or content entry. That said, digital commerce interaction should be simple to be effective.
• I am also a believer in commerce enabler Delivery Agent’s power to facilitate second-screen digital commerce with many successful projects with various shows such as “Sons of Anarchy.” I do question the wisdom of the H&M, Samsung interactive ad featuring David Beckham in his skivvies. The interactive features were only available to those who have a Samsung Smart TV, leaving the millions of us with relatively dumber TVs out of the fun. If digital commerce goes down the multiple ecosystem path, the net result will be a Tower of Babel effect and total chaos.
• Lastly, I had high hopes when Fox announced you could watch the game on your mobile device by downloading Fox Sports Go. Imaging a slick, perhaps interactive, digital-commerce rich experience, I hit the download button in the iTunes Store only to find my TV service provider was not among those who supported Fox Sports Go. The wisdom of offering such a second-screen utility to only a portion of the addressable market is a shining example of the ready, fire, aim approach to digital marketing.
In keeping with the brief yet memorable #sb48 spot which featured U2, I put forth the words from the band’s hit, “One,” which capture my frustration with the digital commerce efforts during the Big Game:
Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
And who is to blame? If you are a digital marketer pointing to someone else, think twice—it may be you.