If we saw one major difference between this year’s Super Bowl ads and years past, it was definitely the integration of mobile and social media. But it didn’t stop at the commercials; the NFL itself had numerous apps to support engagement before the game and during the action. The NFL also brought SMS into the mix during the game with Text to Win prompts. And all this is rightly so, when according to inMobi 40% of viewers used their mobile while watching the game. With all the mobile effort, how did today’s hottest marketing channel fare?
Mobile shined in Bud Light’s Super Bowl strategy. If you were watching the game, you may have noticed a Bud Light commercial featuring an LMFAO song that prompted viewers to “Shazam” the commercial for a free song download. What makes this a mobile winner you ask? By providing viewers a clear and instant reward for engaging, Bud Light heightened responses. Likely, the company is hoping that every time the consumer hears that LMFAO song, they have a sudden urge for a Bud Light. The beer behemoth didn’t stop there; mobile ads ran during the game on Pandora’s mobile app to catch even the non-football enthusiasts. Even their adorable beer-fetching dog commercial featured strong Facebook and twitter calls to action. A well-rounded mobile marketing approach made Bud Light stand out as a winner in this year’s Super Bowl advertising battle.
THE MISSED OPPORTUNITY
No one had mobile at the center of their campaign more than Best Buy. By featuring mobile innovators such as text-to-speech inventor Ray Kurzweil and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, Best Buy touted the technology, along with their own ability to sell a wide variety of mobile options to consumers. Despite this, Best Buy missed a major opportunity. All that mobile talk, but no mobile integration, call to action or even hint of their own mobile experience. So close, yet so far. A simple mobile phone icon with a prompt to download the retailer’s shopping assistant app would have sufficed, or even a mobile carrier comparison mobile site via an on-screen scanable QR code. They could have taken a note out of the Bud Light book and taken advantage of the Shazam co-founders Chris Barton and Avery Wan appearance. Even better, a fun “Words With Friends”special character download or game a la the game’s featured creators. The possibilities were endless.
I can’t write this without giving credit to the NFL for their full embrace of mobile. For fans that were not able to view the Super Bowl from a couch, (but how big of fans could they really be?) the NFL provided a solid app experience. Quality video with smooth streaming was available for those with a decent network connection. Whether viewers were on 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi, they were able to get the game. The major downside: Madonna’s shining moment in the halftime show was replaced by 15 minutes of NFL logo, and some commercials were blacked out as well. All and all, not bad for streaming one of the US’s biggest events of the year. Plus, extra points for the utilization of SMS by asking viewers to text the keyword “NFL” to the short code “69635” to enter for a chance to win a million dollars.
Mobile made a big impact in this year’s Super Bowl with a number of advertisers using the medium to drive engagement. Some were successful; many were not. It’s not expected that everyone will get it right the first time, but they have no excuse next year. Here are your take-aways for next year’s big game ad time:
- The minimal you can do is inform people you have a mobile experience (if you have one). Use visual prompters such as “download in the app store” or mobile icons to let consumers know you have a mobile presence.
- Incentivize people to engage with your brand. This can be by offering something as simple as a chance to win if you like us on facebook in the next 10 mins, or receive this free song when you Shazam, text for a coupon etc.
- Integrate your mobile experience with the commercial. When you make your prompt for engagement part of the overall ad, you will see significant upticks in response. Consider a funny memorable video that continues on your mobile site or augmented reality for a chance to see something hidden. Creativity is not the Super Bowl ad world’s problem—it’s successfully unifying that cross-channel experience.