Social Marketing at Super Bowl XLVIII: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Jennifer Polk | February 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

Hopefully you’ve recovered from your post-Super Bowl hangover and are coherent enough to give some serious thought to what we did last night. Was it worth it? Or will we be making the walk of shame to the c-suite next quarter to explain why our investment in TV advertising and integrated social marketing for Superbowl XLVIII fell short of our high hopes?

While the game on the field was a disappointment, marketers suited up and came to play ball. Last night’s game set a record of 24.9 million Tweets, just topping last year’s record of 24.1 million.  This wasn’t totally unexpected since a pre-game survey showed 61% of viewers planned to share Super Bowl ads on social media. Following Oreo’s clever use of real-time marketing to engage social media audiences during the mid-game blackout, marketers came to this year’s game with an arsenal of clever memes and catchy comebacks. So let’s look at some post-game highlights—the good, the bad and the ugly from one of the most expensive nights on TV and social media.

Game time

The Good

  • Linking TV and social media through hashtags—over half of Super Bowl TV ads included hashtags—to measure impact of ads via social media chatter, like Esurance who used #esurancesave30 to tie its ad to a Twitter giveaway for $1.5 million, telling audiences to tweet to win and driving conversation.

The Bad

  • Failing to engage with viewers who were watching ads in real-time(a rarity these days), reacting on social media and expecting to be inspired and entertained. Most TV advertisers took advantage, but other brands missed the moment, with some posting about Groundhog’s Day instead of the game.
  • Making content hard for audiences to find, like brands who failed to update their search campaigns to point to popular ad content or posted content to emerging social sites instead of mainstream networks. Audi, for instance, posted content to Snapchat, missing the majority of TV viewers.

The Ugly

  • Trying too hard, like JCPenney who attempted to start a trending hashtag by simultaneously tweeting about the Olympics and the Super Bowl while wearing mittens. This left online audiences confused, generating brand buzz for all the wrong reasons.

As audience expectations continue to shift toward multi-screen, multi-channel experiences, plan ahead to find the right mix of channels, content and context for your brand, audience and objective. And be sure to bring your A game, especially when the ad costs are high and the field is littered with brands vying for audience attention.

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