The Increasingly Big Game Around the Big Game

One of the greatest sports and entertainment spectacles of the American year is once again upon us. As we get ready for Super Bowl XLIX, it is interesting to see how we consume media around this mega event. What started as a celebration of our collective love of football has become practically a national holiday. My kids even asked me why they didn’t get “Super Bowl Monday” off from school. I had no good answer. The media saturation includes everything from multi-angle viewing of the game itself to weeks of jockeying for attention from advertisers trying to squeeze every ounce of hype out of the time leading up to kickoff.

With all systems revved up for this extravaganza, there is, naturally, a powerful opportunity for marketers. So, thinking about what is happening outside of TV for a minute, what do we, as in industry, have to get right to maximize the opportunity? Putting on our consumer hats, let’s take a look at what might strike the balance between entertainment, utility, and cross-screen value in a way that satisfies and enables the experience — without coming across like a forced stunt.

Even though the Super Bowl is expected to play prominently for large brands this year, like McDonald’s, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, Doritos, and Dove, they should be aware that excessive use of tech and innovation can also lead to an overwrought and confusing consumer experience. If you truly contemplate what’s possible and then overlay that with what is desirable from a consumer’s experience, the temperature should come down a few degrees. Here are some questions and considerations.

  • How can we use mobile in new and unique ways but stick to proven practices? For instance, this year, we might treat the tablet user differently than the smartphone user during the game assuming that one is likely at home with family and the other at a larger gathering. Pretty logical, right? Device targeting is an easy, yet underutilized, technique.
  • With all screens engaged, what’s the strongest video play for my brand? What’s the most engaging way to leverage mobile and video at once? The PR around Super Bowl ads is often as valuable as the paid impressions. Teasing the spots on multiple screens adds to the hype.
  • How do I do something clever but keep it intuitive with commerce? For advertisers with e-commerce models, it will be crucial to move people down the funnel fast. Clever marketers like GoDaddy have habitually used provocative TV spots to send people to extended video pieces on their site where they can also work on the close.
  • What’s the balance of innovation, entertainment, and utility – what is the right degree of each to make a consumer feel riveted, impressed, and entertained? Marketers are well served to consider integrating in surrounding environments that take advantage of the ebbs and flows of the game. Keep in mind many Super Bowls are blowouts yet people still tune in albeit with less interest. This makes second-screen apps like Preplay a value added experience that aligns with the action on the big screen.
  • What about social media? There has to be a well-orchestrated plan that not only considers the stalwarts like Facebook and Twitter but also the more effervescent players like Instagram and Pinterest.

Just as it is every year, there is a tremendous amount of build up to the Super Bowl this year. I suggest to marketers that rather than looking to soar above it all, they let a little air out of their plans and take a more tactical approach with the good old consumer experience as their guiding principle. Can you tell who I’m rooting for?

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