This post was written by Caroline Ferrari, one of the CooperKatz spring interns.
Though traditional TV spots are still the reigning Super Bowl champions, social media has become a major contender in recent years. With viewers willing to share and engage about the game and the ads, it’s now crucial for brands to up their real-time marketing initiatives on the second screen – as we saw Sunday night.
The power of social media struck a notable chord a couple of years ago when Beyoncé was given credit for causing the lights to go out at the Super Bowl and Oreo speedily created and shared its “You can still dunk in the dark” ad. Without coughing up millions, Oreo won the brand bowl and forever changed the rules of the game.
Two years later, brands were using every method they could to spread their message online during Super Bowl XLIX. Content creation was still a major player in real-time marketing: Doritos took advantage of this year’s puppy and #dadvertising trends by creating and sharing the on-brand video puppydad; Skittles supported its loyal spokesperson Marshawn Lynch with some fun multimedia; and Cheerios used well-timed humor during that last interception. Other brands experimented with a range of related strategies: BMW and Always supported their TV spots by continuing the conversation online; McDonald’s decided to tweet at almost every brand who advertised; and Denny’s and Totino’s live-tweeted the game with humor and even a little sarcasm.
While many brands delivered strong performances, ultimately it is consumers who determine the champions of the brand bowl. Though sobering the generally light-hearted mood with its intense advertisement about child accidents, Nationwide was the only brand trending the next day. Though it took criticism for the approach, it stood by its message online and started a conversation about child safety that has spread from social to traditional media.
As the media landscape evolves, brands will continue to fight to become the most talked about during the Super Bowl, using whatever competitive edge they can find.
Who knows, maybe Snapchat will become next year’s arena.
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