Super Bowl 50 is over, and the world’s most expensive media buy of the year is now a thing of the past. Some advertisers are celebrating their critically acclaimed showings and others are crying in their beers (including, presumably, the world’s largest maker of beers, which had a pretty bad night). It’s time now for the Monday Morning Quarterbacks of Advertising, including myself, to come out and say what we would have done differently.
First, to temper the below discussion with a preface: regardless of how you showed, you’re probably not as good or bad an advertiser as “they” (the consumers and critics) say you are. The Super Bowl has always been an artificial advertising test at best. How can you effectively measure the interrupting capability of a medium that is all about breaking through to consumers, when the consumer is primed to keep eyeballs peeled and pay unnatural attention? This isn’t how real advertising works, it’s a completely different stage. Second, any advertiser that chooses to participate in the Super Bowl is inherently bold and shows a willingness to take chances. These advertisers are the industry’s “old souls,” those who appreciate the art of advertising, and have the budget to throw money to sponsor the United States’ largest sporting event, so that should be celebrated. Kudos to any CMO or CEO who realizes advertising money is a branding investment in the long run, not an expenditure. For many advertisers, seeing themselves in the bottom 10 of USA Today’s Ad Meter Poll, what many in the business consider to be the de facto measurement tool, is bound to be disconcerting at the very least. For many of these marketers I suggest another bold rethink; it’s time you start approaching advertising a lot differently. Rather than taking the scattershot shotgun approach of using the Super Bowl to reach your audience, consider moving your brands into the world of strategically targeted and personalized content. Don’t try to talk to every lead in the world – good, bad or otherwise – who might use your product via one avenue. Instead, target your efforts to the great leads, the qualified leads, the leads who show a strong propensity or need for your product. Here are four things for Super Bowl advertisers to consider next year.
1. A Data Deep Dive
Look at who is buying your product – the who, what, why, when, and how. Not just who we think it is. The data will show who it really is and allow you to see things you couldn’t before, like consumer buying patterns, precision targeting, and the exact when/where/what of real buying behavior.
2. Develop A Comprehensive Digital Content Strategy
Your instinct to entertain, inform, and delight the consumer is exactly right. You just need to do it in the right way, in the right time and place, informed by data. Approach the Super Bowl spot as a mass media component of a digitally-centric marketing plan. Focus on efforts that target and measure the true effectiveness of your efforts, not based on a vague “ad performance” metric (sorry, USA Today).
3. Create Big Ideas For The Big Game
Create “big idea” creative that works synergistically across the entire digital ecosystem. A world that allows unique consumer involvement and participation through real-time amplification across multiple channels, a world that is more personalized and special than a one-size-fits-all Super Bowl ad can create.
4. Win The Moments
Use modern technology to find and follow consumers with your messaging and keep a constant presence, not just capturing attention for 30–60 seconds one night of the year. Consider partnering with a platform like Twitter to create moment-based marketing that’s contextually relevant during and after the big game.