Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Social Media Readies for Super Bowl 2010

Social media efforts for Super Bowl XLIV are already in full swing. It’s not news to advertisers that there’s lead time for all marketing programs. But there’s a difference in traditional ad planning and execution from social media planning and execution; you have to start earlier in social media if you want customer engagement and participation leading up to the big day.

This chart shows the online viewing of ads, which totaled more views than people watching the game live according to Ad Age (subscription required). The impact of social is interesting as is the difference between industry segments. In case you missed the article here are Ad Age’s recommendations for getting maximum benefit from your Super Bowl ads (assuming you’re planning to spend the $2.5 to 2.8 mil necessary to run one):

• Capitalize on pregame buzz
• Build virality into your creative
• Buy smart search terms
• Think real time
• Don't forget the call to action

It doesn’t take much thought to realize that all of this is aimed at leveraging the impact of a 30-second ad—and that most of it involves social media. The real-time issue I find the most fascinating. Listen to Ad Age:

Gone are the days when a CMO can enjoy an uninterrupted game in the network's luxury box. Today smart marketers will be talking on Twitter, tweaking search campaigns and leaving no rock unturned in their quest to drive impressions. Like E-Trade's baby, the star of H&R Block's spot, Tax Guy Murray, turned up on Twitter and actively reached out to people talking about the ad or taxes -- during the game. "My prediction is this year you'll have armies of marketers fanning the flames of their ads on Twitter," said Pete Blackshaw, exec VP, Nielsen Digital Strategic Services. "'Did you like it? Check out this link. Thanks so much for the high five.'

Oh, those poor CMOs!

One big piece of news is that Pepsi pulled out of the Super Bowl this year. They are concentrating their money in social media—in a cause-related program that’s almost guaranteed to generate engagement. Augie Ray has interesting commentary on the Forrester blog with good background links. The upshot of it is that Pepsi is spending $20 million on a program to support community-level projects. They are accepting proposals each month during 2010, starting January 13, 2010. Take a look at the top and bottom sections of the project home page. Have they forgotten anything for either project sponsors or the general public which is to vote on submissions?

They’ve also got some interesting things going on. One is that each category has an “ambassador,” one of whose roles seems to be to support applicants in that category. Some are also blogging; I’ll bet all of them will before it’s over.

The other is that there was a lot of buzz last week about initial glitches in the submissions. Apparently some people had problems submitting and others didn’t get a confirmation. Pepsi’s response is a textbook example of community monitoring and response. TechCrunch was quite critical, even though the Facebook page captures they published showed that Pepsi was all over the problem on the 13th, the day the site went live. Even better, go to their Facebook page. The last entry as of this writing is Jan. 15 and at the moment it has 86 comments. Read through them. Some applicants are still having problems, some are seeing their submissions going in properly. Applicants are talking to one another. Pepsi is talking to them. Pepsi is confirming some submissions directly to the Facebook commenter; they are promising to get back to others. They are listening—and responding! I’m not sure it gets any better and the applicants seem to be pretty happy and accepting of the fact that technology, especially in the beginning, can go awry. What’s important is that the marketer pays attention and fixes it, keeping users informed along the way!

Let’s revisit the initial premises. One is that you either do traditional broadcast advertising or you do social media. Wrong. You waste your money on traditional broadcast in this rarefied environment unless you do effective lead-up and post-game work. A lot of that is online and much of it may be social. It’s not one or the other.

The other is that a wise social media investment may pay greater long-run dividends than even a blockbuster Super Bowl ad. That remains to be seen. But stay tuned throughout 2010 to see how Refresh Everything goes. It’s certainly been exciting so far!

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