Super Bowl ads aren't just for TV anymore. Commercials aired during the big game worked overtime to entice viewers to dish on Twitter and Facebook, zap ads with Shazam, surf corporate websites, and view and share clips on YouTube.
Advertisers across the board signaled their confidence in Super Bowl XLVI and the 111 million-plus viewers that Nielsen estimated tuned in to the game. NBC Sports sold all 35 game ad slots just after Thanksgiving, averaging $3.5 million for a :30 spot and more than $6 million for 60-second ones. Instead of unveiling commercials during the big game, advertisers began offering sneak peeks online and even in movie theaters.
Advertisers are already vying to have their Super Bowl ads - or the teasers for their ads - go viral. One breakout: Volkswagen's minute-long teaser of a canine chorus performing the Darth Vader theme has racked up 12 million views on YouTube, which is more than twice the traffic for the official commercial that it teases.
Kia Motors took early release a step further, showing its Super Bowl ad called "Drive the Dream" on 18,000 movie screens three days before the game on February 2. And that followed a :15 teaser for the ad that it began showing at movies theaters even earlier on January 27. Kia also decided to go big with the length of the commercial, opting for 60 seconds instead of 30, which is what most other companies settled on. The obvious benefit of having twice the time is the opportunity to be more creative and tell more of a story - not to mention more time to highlight a web address for home viewers to type in and check out.
In order to overcome the hurdle that comes with requiring a consumer to type in a URL, about one-third of Super Bowl advertisers offered a shortcut for viewers to visit them online without any typing whatsoever. Instead, their ads could be accessed via smartphone app Shazam, best known for its "name that tune" use of identifying songs' titles and artists.
We're entering an era where you don't see pure TV or pure digital anymore; you see them playing seamlessly together. Companies are extending the time they are paying for, using the Super Bowl as a door to their brand experience. It's a recycling effort - it allows the interest and buzz to be recycled without having to pay for the media again.
So where does email tie in?
First, the multi-channel approach taken by Super Bowl advertisers underscores the importance of having an integrated, cross-channel strategy that leverages the strength of each channel to achieve your objective - whether it's getting people to watch a bunch of dogs barking out a "Star Wars" tune or encouraging customers to create and submit their own commercials.
Second, the same ingredients that go into a successful Super Bowl ad can be used to create a compelling email ad: humor, drama, intrigue, compassion, etc. Knowing what triggers work best with your core audience will help you create compelling creative that helps you distinguish your messages from the scores of others that fill consumer inboxes. If you create value for the recipient, they will seek out your messages.
Each channel offers different strengths. TV is a great medium for telling a story and connecting with consumers on an emotional level, but it's also fleeting, requiring multiple impressions for messages to stick. Plus, it's not every day that consumers actively tune in to the commercials.
With the rise of DVRs and time-shifting, it's harder than ever to get eyeballs to stop and pay attention to TV ads. Email on the other hand allows consumers to take as much time as they want to interact with your message. Once in the inbox, consumers can go back to your messages as frequently as they want, or search for it when they're ready to buy from the brand. Again, be known for creating value with your messages, and consumers will look for your messages.
So, take some time to get familiar with this year's batch of Super Bowl ads and see what themes might work for your brand, across all relevant channels.
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An industry veteran, Tal Nathan has been helping organizations deliver valued and effective email marketing services for more than 10 years. In his role of vice president of client services, Nathan manages all client services for StrongMail to ensure that their respective clients receive the highest level of professional service available in today’s competitive marketplace. Previously, Nathan served as vice president and general manager of client services for Epsilon, where he led online strategy for the company’s top-tier clients, with a focus on the retail, travel and financial verticals. Prior to Epsilon, he was the vice president of client engineering at infoGroup, where he led and managed integration services for its Yesmail division. No stranger to technology, Nathan began his career at BDO Seldman, where he provided a range of business management and technology services to Fortune 500 companies. Nathan holds a BS in mechanical engineering from UCLA.