Once as closely guarded as nuclear launch codes, Super Bowl spots are now shared online before, during and after the Big Game to give advertisers more bang for their buck
The Super Bowl is practically a national holiday and one of the most-watched annual television events, giving brands a major opportunity to make an impact with consumers. For decades, advertisers have worked to perfect the art of the Super Bowl spot, and viewers have anxiously awaited the funny, racy, and just plain crazy ads that air during timeouts and between quarters.
While the viewership gender gap has narrowed over the years (nearly half of Super Bowl viewers are now women), a couple of recent studies (one from Lab42 and one from Hanon McKendry) suggest that women tune in for the commercials even more than men do. But the biggest change to hit the Super Bowl ad scene has undoubtedly been the rise of digital, and how brands are using the Web and social sharing to give their spots legs that run far beyond that one big televised pop. (In a recent Ad Blog post, industry execs shared their opinions on Super Bowl marketing trends.)
Video-sharing platforms play a new role
While consumers used to watch the Super Bowl and all the commercials that go along with it just once, they can now view the ads multiple times. Within the last two years, it’s become increasingly common to pre-release a long-form version of a spot in advance of the game to get consumers buzzing. The spot that actually airs on game day can be the 30-second cut, but since many viewers have already caught the longer piece online, the shorter spot still resonates while saving the advertiser money (nearly $4 million for a 30-second spot this year---yowza!)
Football fans are often encouraged to use the Web during or after the game to learn more about a product or see additional footage. Because the spots often are available long after the Super Bowl rings are awarded, viewers can watch the ads multiple times and share them with friends and family who may not have been watching the game. (Here are more insights on Super Bowl video advertising.)
Social networking increases brand awareness and commercial sharing
With a truly quirky or unusual teaser ad, a company has the potential to generate attention across social platforms. Once an attention-getting preliminary ad is released, consumers may start to discuss, share, and comment on the advertisement via social sites. This can build even more anticipation for a brand's ad in the days and weeks leading up to the big game.
By now, advertisers are also aware that their commercials get attention online during the Super Bowl, not just before or after. The increasing prevalence of mobile devices allows viewers to use their smartphones or tablets to log on to social platforms and interact with a brand that aired a particularly memorable ad while still watching the game. With advances in technology, it has become easier than ever for consumers to share their thoughts, leave comments, and post links to their favorite commercials, potentially increasing the advertisement's reach and helping consumers remember the commercial in the days and weeks following the game.
But like video sharing, social media plays a significant role in brand advertising before the game ever airs. Companies are turning to social sites to ask consumers for ideas to use in their Super Bowl campaign, launch contests, and generate buzz among consumers. The prevalence of Web advertising is now supplementing traditional television advertising at virtually every step of the process and proving to be effective at creating more attention for brands and the creative advertisements they air.