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Lessons from the Super Bowl…

So, the confetti has (probably just about) been swept away following on one of the greatest and most dramatic Super Bowls of all-time. While Tom Brady and the New England Patriots cemented their place in sporting folklore, America’s showpiece sporting and ad event also gave marketers a few lessons – aside from dramatic finishes.

The shifting sands of content discovery

How people view ads online has changed. This year included a large increase in the percentage of ads viewed on Facebook from just 1% in 2014 to 25% in 2015. As such, the brands that triumphed recognised this change and leveraged both Facebook and YouTube when it came to distributing their ads.

These figures seemingly vindicate Facebook’s focus on integrating video formats and refining how content is discovered on the platform. As a result, user behaviour has altered and shifted the way brand’s look at their audio-visual strategy putting greater focus on social channels.

Still work to do socially

There was a lot of creativity in the ads that ran but real media innovation was conspicuous by its absence. There was, admittedly, a willingness to integrate social into the ads with just over half featuring a hashtag in the copy (all be it slightly down on last year’s 57%). However, very few had really considered why the consumer would engage with the ad and use that hashtag for.

After all, this year’s Sunday’s Super Bowl was the most talked about Super Bowl on social media, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone was talking about the ads.

Facebook reported a record 65million conversations about the Super Bowl and they show the key peaks in conversations where all driven by scoring, or the Katy Perry Half Time Show. This is a bit of a reality check for those advertisers hoping people would be talking about their ads, since McDonalds, the most mentioned advertiser of the night on Twitter, represented less 2.3% of all 28 million Super Bowl related tweets.

Perhaps the most notable exception was T-Mobile, which built on their long-standing #uncarrier proposition, and added a dash of celebrity power with #KimsDataDash to get people proactively replying on Twitter.

We felt genuinely saddened by Kim Kardashin’s plight when it comes to data use… we really did.


Emotive advertising remains the target

It was quite clear clients and agencies alike had been reading the IPA paper on the effectiveness of using emotion in advertising….and boy they really went for it.

McDonald’s asked customers to pay with love.

While several other brands looked to reach out to Dad specifically, Toyota looking at how dads inspired pro-football players.

Dove Men+care kept it simple with their ‘real strength’ ad using genuine home footage mixed with shot footage.

Real integration really works

PepsiCo understood the value of integration, and didn’t just start with ‘what would be a great idea for a Super Bowl ad’. It looked at how to build the brand in the show and truly leverage its traditional position as the half-time sponsor to be a part of this cultural moment. This meant more than just a TV spot. They also chose Katy Perry as the performer and influenced her outfit choices to create a huge amount of content in months in advance of the night to get people ‘hyped for halftime’.

PepsiCo didn’t necessarily get the most mentions in terms of hashtag use on Twitter, but people saw their brand as enabling part of the show… and more than a billion media impressions to boot. Touchdown!

Chrissy Totty, Head of Innovation, Vizeum UK