Word of Super Bowl Ads Travel the Web

Super Bowl commercials got people talking online like never before, but experts say advertisements failed to keep consumers engaged because of a lack of calls-to-action.

Five times more discussion of Super Bowl took place in the blogosphere this year compared to last, according to marketing intelligence firm New Media Strategies.

Pete Blackshaw, CMO of Intelliseek, confirmed the increase in online dialogue. “There was significantly more buzz building and blog narrative taking place this year versus last year,” he said. “There’s greater penetration in blogs in general.”

New Media Strategies CEO Pete Snyder attributes the increase in blog coverage at least partially to the fact that the blogosphere doubles in size every five months. And increased buzz on blogs indicates attention, not favorability.

“Just because there’s activity, doesn’t mean people are excited,” Snyder said. “Just because people are talking, doesn’t mean it’s all positive.”

Both Snyder and Blackshaw, much like search marketing experts, agreed that advertisers missed opportunities to engage consumers in a continuing conversation online.

“Few of the ads involved consumers in any way. It’s surprising against the backdrop of companies wanting to start blogs,” said Blackshaw. “The ads were created by traditional advertising [departments].”

Blackshaw gave the example of Gillette, which debuted a campaign for the new Fusion razor during the big game, but lacked Web elements to engage its target audience. “I thought Gillette missed some really big opportunities,” he said. “It’s heavily targeted toward one of the most active segments online.”

Blackshaw suggested the razor’s Web site could ask visitors to sign up, make their own commercials and post reviews. “The potential to nurture evangelism and following is greatest near the launch of a product,” said Blackshaw.

Even without clear call-to-action elements on the Web site, commercial viewers found a way to add their input. “We gave Gillette our first annual user-generated spoof award,” said Snyder. “Almost instantly we saw different Photoshopped spoofs of Gillette of the Fusion razor. It speaks to the power of user-generated content.”

Not all advertisers missed the opportunity. A few implemented elements on their sites to involve visitors expected after the game. “Dove and Budweiser did a really good job asking for feedback,” said Blackshaw. “It generates loyalty and evangelism.”

A Super Bowl campaign can kick off a longer conversation with the consumer if word of mouth is executed properly, said Snyder. “If it’s done correctly, if you really fuse your Super Bowl advertising with online components of Super Bowl games, the impact can last for six months or even a year afterwards.”

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