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FEBRUARY 8, 2017 //     

Talk is cheap. Super Bowl ads? Not so much.

By: Lucy Arnold

The Super Bowl is the holy grail of football and marketing – there is no other day where people so eagerly await a 30-second spot of advertising. So, you have to make it count. Best case scenario, you disgust or delight viewers into talking about your ad (and ideally, your brand, too) for days afterwards. Worst case, nobody remembers your effort and the more than $5 million spend was a drop in the old bucket.
This year, we saw several interesting tactics from stalwart Super Bowl brands and several newcomers take over the conversation – online and offline. Snickers decided to try a “live” ad, Tide had perhaps the most surprising and enjoyable integration, and Coca-Cola spent their millions running an old spot. 

Celebrity placements continued to be a hook for driving earned media and online consumer conversation, including those behind the camera. To note, Elizabeth Banks directed Persil ProClean’s ad and the Coen Brothers were behind the camera for Mercedes-Benz. And, Justin Timberlake appeared in Bai’s first national Super Bowl ad and didn’t even have to speak. He’s been working with the brand as their Chief Flavor Officer, involved in product development, digital content and more. All that said, more so than last year, statements with topical, political and emotional undercurrents from brands such as Airbnb, 84 Lumber, Audi and Anheuser-Busch stood out from the pack. 

As we did last year, we used a social listening tool to delve into which brands were the most talked about* on the second screen, Jan. 30 – Feb. 6, 2017. Here are the top five: 
  • T-Mobile – 202,000 social media mentions – Not topically relevant in tone, but did have four ads throughout the game with some big names (Justin Bieber, Martha Stewart)
  • Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) – 165,000 social media mentions – Topically relevant in tone
  • 84 Lumber – 88,000 social media mentions – Topically relevant in tone
  • Audi – 65,000 social media mentions – Topically relevant in tone
  • Coca-Cola – 58,000 social media mentions – Topically relevant in tone
*Excluding movie trailers and the terms “halftime” and “Tom Brady”** 
(**Except for Intel’s spot where he is featured)

This year more than years past, marketers debated other tactics they could employ with $5 million. If the Super Bowl has an audience of 110 million people, would your budget be better served on targeted Facebook ads or Snapchat lenses? It’s conceivable that for the same spend, you could reach an even bigger audience and sustain the conversation for a longer period of time than your Super Bowl commercial chatter. For example, you could sponsor a lens on Snapchat for 11 days, or get a custom ad package at Facebook and reach potentially 149 million users. And frankly, you could probably spend a lot less than $5 million to see stronger returns on reach, engagement and video views.

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