Tim’s recent post brings to mind a question that I have been mulling over for some time now. How can brands successfully leverage the Super Bowl venue in conjunction with their social media efforts? I’m a firm believer that television advertising is far from dead, and now similar executions are being presented in my online program watching. However, it does seem like the future is one of increasing integrated marketing efforts that incorporate both traditional and modern strategies. How can marketers integrate social media into the biggest traditional advertising event of the year? As I see it, there are a number of different formulas. Each has the potential for success, but each can also bring its own challenges.
First, brands might use social media efforts to create buzz and engage consumers prior to the actual Super Bowl spot. Such an approach carries with it the prospect of both building intrigue and engagement prior to the event and leading consumers to be on the lookout for the brand’s Super Bowl spot. The upside is that this approach may garner more consumer engagement. On the flipside, a successful social media effort could raise the already loft expectations of a Super Bowl spot, which means brands must be more ready than ever to deliver.
Second, brands might use the Super Bowl as a point to launch their social media efforts. As Tim acknowledges, the Super Bowl is the single biggest reach strategy available to marketers—it allows advertisers to reach the largest number of single consumers in one go. Therefore, if one wants to introduce the concept behind a new social media campaign, it is hard to compete with the Super Bowl in reach. Of course, one challenge here is making sure that the Super Bowl advertising can drive consumers to be excited, ready for, and eager to engage in the social media effort.
Third, brands could have the social media folded into the Super Bowl advertising itself with simultaneous executions occurring online and through social media venues as the commercial is rolled out live. This way, consumers are not only seeing the traditional advertising, but are also experiencing an accompanying social campaign concurrently. Of course, there’s a challenge here—with consumers fixed to the Super Bowl and its advertising, do they have bandwidth to process simultaneous social media efforts?
These are a few snapshots of how marketers can think of fusing social media and non-traditional marketing efforts with the grandfather of all traditional marketing events. As social media becomes more rampant, seeing how brands integrate such efforts, successfully or unsuccessfully, into their Super Bowl efforts will become of great interest for both academics and practitioners. This is definitely one development to keep an eye on.
– Derek Rucker