Advertisers prepare all year for their 30-60 second spot during the big game – and rightly so with a price point starting at $5 million. In the days of old, people gathered around the water-cooler on Monday morning excited to talk about their favorite Super Bowl ads. Well now, the water cooler is in the palm of your hand and millions of people voice their opinions on the fly. Instant feedback is guaranteed when it comes to any sizeable event, so how can we replicate that success even if it’s on a much smaller scale?
If you look at the pregame, game day and postgame strategies this year, it’s clear that the Super Bowl is just the climax of much broader, integrated marketing campaigns. Exposure and brand awareness are guaranteed when you reach over 150 million viewers, so many brands are going a step further, aiming to spark anticipation, conversation and follow-up actions. Proof of that is that 50 percent of brands included a hashtag in their commercials, and 44.6 percent gave a URL. Both were levers to immerse people in social media conversations and content marketing during and after the event.
For an event like the Super Bowl, the social conversation is massive. From the moment brands start to release their spots to digital publishers and through their online platforms, buzz spreads quickly. The most successful campaigns in recent years have a common thread: creating content centered around the actual event. By reacting to what is happening in real time, companies are able to create conversations to initially and robustly engage consumers.
No paid media is as strong as human influence. It’s not a secret that influencer marketing is eating the lunch of traditional media in many ways, but the impact of this format is even clearer when we measure the performance within a highly competitive event. Even if you don’t have a big budget, you can leverage the humanizing power of influencer marketing to expand your reach.
Taking that a step further, some brands have even entrusted their consumers with steering their ads in their preferred direction. Every year for almost a decade now, Doritos asks fans, to send their own 30-second Doritos spot with a simple guideline: just make it awesome and show your love of the brand. Doritos fans across the world have the chance to vote and choose the winner through social media. Listening to your audience can help mold your future marketing strategy and increase its effectiveness and success.
Think of your pillar events and sponsorships as a long-term strategy and engage your fans before, during and after those events.
It is important to curate tangible content leading up to and during a major event for attendees to take away from the event itself (this could include videos, photos, and/or t-shirts, for example). Done correctly, this can add to the buzz leading up to the event, tap new audiences to become
attendees and keep the event top of mind to departing attendees. Content is about capturing great memories and making them available to your audiences of importance.
Live tweeting during events is a huge opportunity for boosting event promotion. Attendees will be watching the hashtag, so fill that stream with interesting content, including Tweet quotes, shared pictures, and contests or drawings. Encourage your audiences to get actively involved somehow. Give them fun and interacting things to do.
It is also advisable to try to convert event ad momentum into a content marketing opportunity that includes a dedicated website or microsites which can keep that momentum going.
In a world of content overload and short attention spans, integrated campaigns help make the message stick. Thinking back across the five Super Bowls prior to 2015, how many ads can you really remember and describe? The brand exposure is fleeting, and Super Bowls ads are wildly expensive. Just remember that the money these giant advertisers are spending on their actual television ads is not what’s driving their success. It’s the smart leveraging of these ads before, during and after the event that makes these expenditures worthwhile.

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