Marketers Bet On Digital To Drive Interest In Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl may be the biggest event on TV for sports fans and for advertisers, but the big game is no longer restricted to the TV screen, at least when it comes to the high-profile ads that will air during the game.

Across industries, marketers are banking on their $5 million-plus ad buys to have long tails, hopefully garnering millions of views well after the game ends. Other brands with much smaller budgets, meanwhile, are looking for ways to get in on the action.

Nowadays, major advertisers like Mountain Dew and Bud Light promote their ads days or even weeks ahead of time, releasing “teaser trailers” on YouTube, and securing previews on network morning shows.

Brands are also embracing the inevitable “ad rankers” that follow the game, as myriad news outlets and websites compile lists of the best ads, embedding the videos accordingly.

One media buyer, who has bought space during major sporting events, told Digital News Daily that these digital ad rankers may be contributing to the inflated price for ads during the game. When brands buy a Super Bowl ad, they aren’t just getting 100 million or so TV viewers, they are securing space in news and entertainment outlets that will be seen by 10s of millions more people, with some rewatching their favorite ads again.

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Brands have also been using the big game to launch campaigns, and to introduce themes or characters that will live on throughout the year.

“In today’s media-rich environment, producing a TV spot solely for game day isn’t enough. Brands need to build comprehensive campaigns that tease the ad in advance of its airing and continue the story afterwards across multiple channels. For post-game in particular, they need to be thinking mobile-first,” Chris Loretto, executive VP at digital marketing agency Adtaxi, told Digital News Daily.

Brands can’t simply repurpose their TV ad, and they shouldn’t just cut the :30 second spot down to :06. To drive the long-tail effect, not only does the initial ad need to be entertaining, but it should leave room for the story to live on,” he added. “Build on the story and add a surprising twist. Hone in on one particular character that allows the brand to drive home a certain narrative. Take the main message or the most entertaining piece of the ad and create a GIF to be shared across social channels.”

Of course, marketers don’t necessarily need multimillion-dollar budgets to get in on the action. In a world where just about everyone watching the game will be spending at least part of game time on their phones and/or on social media, there is ample opportunity for others to break through. According to a survey from Adtaxi, 47% of respondents say they plan to consumer Super Bowl-related content on their mobile device during the game, with 68% of those people saying they will use social media as well.

“A great way to tap into the excitement for the Super Bowl is to tap into the massive audience of YouTube,” Loretto says. “For brands that have video content, but don’t want to break the bank, YouTube offers ample opportunity to connect with audiences that may be searching for Super Bowl-related content.”

Marketers don’t even need video, necessarily, to have an impact. One of the most famous Super Bowl “ads” of all time never appeared on TV, and wasn’t a video. During a surprise blackout at the stadium during the 2013 game, the social media team for Oreo tweeted an image of a single cookie, with the caption “Power out? No problem, you can still dunk in the dark.” it went viral and became one of the ad hits of the game.

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