Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Bowl 2012 is a Social Media Event

I’ve been writing about the role of social media in the Super Bowl for several years. It has included interesting tie-ins with advertising, mostly a lot of contests which have seemed to work for customer engagement even if they’ve produced some less-than-stellar ads (aren’t most of them anyway?).  (See 2011 pre, post, 2010 pre 1, pre 2, post) But this year is different.

Social media has become an integral part of the event. I’ve heard, for example, that players will be able to tweet from the sidelines. They can’t bring their mobiles, but there will be a computer for their use on the sideline. Hope they remember their passwords!

But there are some significant additions to the lineup that should work. The two things that seem most significant are:

• Live streaming of the event. Ad CPMs are high for this audience but a few major advertisers seem to be taking the plunge, although Chevrolet has let it be known that they are advertising on the stream and are working to integrate all their advertising through activities like this promoted Tweet. As many as 300 thousand viewers have watched streamed NFL games this season, so the size of the final audience will be interesting.

• The integrated use of social media by the host committee in Indianapolis. This is their “Get Connected” page. Take a look at the home page also. Its style is rather frenetic, but it makes the point they want the visitor to have an excellent game experience. According to Lisa Arthur writing in the Forbes blog the activities of the host committee include:
  o Integration of on- and off-line experiences. The home page offers event info. If you can’t be there, you might enjoy the live web cams.
  o A social media control center where they can listen to fan chatter and respond in real time. They say on the Twitter page that they are open from 9 a.m. to midnight. With almost 21 thousand Twitter followers and over 15 thousand Facebook likes as of Tuesday morning, they could be quite busy!
  o Collaborated with the NFL on a single mobile app for the event
  o Reached out to influential Indiana bloggers to promote the event activities (there’s plenty to do, and residents can enjoy it without shelling out for a game ticket) and build the social network in advance of game day.

Brad Carlson is vice president of marketing for the host committee. He says:

All of this has evolved into a robust ‘real-time’ network helping us react to trends in fan sentiment, and make adjustments to our plans on the fly. . .This will be the most connected Super Bowl in history. We’re breaking new ground, and laying the benchmarks for the future. . We want the fans to win.

All this reminded me that the London Olympics has already issued social media guidelines for participants. Some coverage describes it as restrictive. I’ve read it, and I’d say they are reminding about standard intellectual property issues and reminding the young participants to play nicely and respect the Olympic brand. Wonder if that' is the reasoning behind not allowing mobiles on the SB sidelines; reduce the likelihood of unfortunate ‘in the heat of the moment’ posts.

So, overall, I’d agree that SuperBowl XLVI is setting new precedent for social media integration into a live event that other events will learn from and emulate.

Article first published as Super Bowl XLVI is a Social Media Event on Technorati.

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1 comment:

hbialek said...

As the price of Super Bowl commercials continue to increase to an average of $3.5 million for 30 seconds this year (per http://news.yahoo.com/super-bowl-advertisers-seek-buzz-180819626--spt.html), advertisers must be banking on the longer lasting effect that can be brought about by leveraging social media. After the ads air, they’ll try to maintain their momentum by continuing to promote the chatter. Keep people talking and, subsequently, buying. And, it seems as though a number of advertisers are building up momentum even before the big game day, as demonstrated by your Chevrolet mention, as well as Coca Cola, which displays the Polar Bears ready for game day on the company’s home page, http://www.coca-cola.com/en/index.html.

I was surprised to read that an estimated 60% of Super Bowl fans will be connected to a smartphone or tablet while watching the game. It may very well change the dynamic of Super Bowl parties if everyone is busy online. Not to mention how will you hold your beer, eat, watch, cheer, and text at the same time?