Q&A with Blake Jackson
Social media has changed advertising for Super Bowl
Q: How have new digital opportunities influenced Super Bowl ads?
A: Digital and social media continue to impact the approach brands take as they plunk down $3 million to $5 million for 30 seconds to 90 seconds of America's undivided attention. A photo of Coca-Cola's social media “command center” that circulated Sunday night featured roughly 20 community managers sitting around a boardroom table furiously typing on laptops — presumably responding to online feedback about Coke's Super Bowl campaign. When the action on the field halted for half an hour due to a power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, action exploded online, with posts by Oreo and Audi being retweeted or shared tens of thousands of times in the span of a few minutes. Dodge's “Farmer” ad was the talk of Facebook and Twitter long into the night, despite a complete lack of call to action during the spot itself. Brands large and small capitalized on the conversation by releasing extended versions or deleted scenes from their ads online.
Q: What role is integration playing in these campaigns?
A: Unlike a couple of years back, when every ad seemed to include a direct call to action to “like” the respective brand's Facebook page, this year's Super Bowl spots featured more subtle digital integration. Doritos and Tide, for example, included a simple Twitter hashtag in the bottom third of the screen in an attempt to funnel reaction and commentary into a single keyword pool online. Coca-Cola and Lincoln, meanwhile, rolled out elaborate microsites that allowed viewers to take control of the advertising narrative and determine the outcome of each campaign. Though not featured in a traditional ad, Pepsi's use of user-generated digital content during its intro to Beyonce's halftime show was a highlight of online chatter during the game.
Q: Are there any new tools businesses should be aware of to help bolster their campaigns?
A: It's not so much a question of tools as it is a question of preparedness. Brands like Oreo, Walgreens and Audi made waves online during the Super Bowl because they were poised to take action in the moment. Strategists strategized quickly. “Creatives” created quickly. Decision-makers made decisions quickly. In a world where relevance moves at a thousand feet per second — especially during an event like the Super Bowl — being nimble can mean the difference between generating buzz and generating a dud.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER