The long game: Beyond Super Bowl ads

The most pivotal point in the US ad industry calendar is almost upon us, and as the players take up their positions on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI brands will once again be out in force with a raft of ads hoping to ingrain themselves on the public’s retinas.

With a 70,00 strong crowd and a TV audience in the region of 111 million there is a lot more at stake here than whether the new England Patriots or the New York Giants triumph. This is a battle for the hearts and minds – and increasing the social media soul - of the US consumer.

Naturally big audiences demand a big upfront financial cost, and with ads rising from $2.1M per 30 seconds in 2003 to a whopping $3.5M in 2012 putting all your eggs in one basket is an increasingly big gamble for brands.

The power of a great ad is undeniable, however, it’s still only the tip of a yearlong marketing iceberg that spans digital, social media and experiential activity. Here’s a few stats that indicate the pre and post event potential of a smart ad campaign:

57% - pay attention to ads prior to the game

25% - seek ads out based on favouring the brand

19% - seek out ads due to celebrity involvement

36% - of viewers will share ads via social media

87% - of which will share via Facebook

20% - will ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page if they deliver a favourable Super Bowl ad

27% - will talk about the ad in a physical social setting post event

All great touch points, but what happens as the status updates disappear and those water cooler moments shift to other conversations - the conversion is ultimately as important as the touch down.

Take the automotive sector for example. With eight brands all vying for attention this year - and consumers finding it harder to distinguish between them - going beyond the ad is an essential

Pre event digital buzz is something auto brands are increasingly getting better at, with Kia opting to drive engagement by releasing its ad trailer in cinemas, VW netting over 8 million views of its trailer via YouTube and Chevrolet scoring 32 million views of its pre event ad competition (latching on to a concept utilised by Doritos). However, post event activity, which pushes the entertainment agenda into wider experiential activity is often remiss.

Super bowl ads give brands the opportunity to create an emotional bookmark in consumer’s minds. Ensuring they engage with the rest of the story requires a robust entertainment strategy that follows through the line, joining up the dots and delivering a consistent brand story in the downtime between these vast ad opportunities.

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