Julie Ward
Advertising Accounts Supervisor
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The Super Bowl. America’s biggest day of TV viewership. If you like Football, or if you don’t, chances are you’ll still take part in this American cultural moment, just for the commercials.

Super Bowl advertising is well-known for its extremely high prices, as well as for the entertainment value. In the age of constant connectivity, advertisers find that a traditional ad premiere during the big game cannot stand on its own. Brands are now trying novel ways to interact with consumers before, during and after Superbowl LI.

This year’s biggest trends involve engaging viewers live on and offline. From announcing their Super Bowl ad spot on Facebook Live, to Snickers’ anticipated first-ever live commercial during the game, to Hyundai filming and creating its post-gun* ad during the game itself, brands are attempting to keep up with highly-connected audiences.

Before the big game:

Over the last five years, more and more brands have increasingly released teasers before the Super Bowl ads. In 2017, this is the norm, where many advertisers have also released the full version of their Super Bowl ads in this last week before the game.

The most novel “Drumbeat” campaigns are the ones that entice interaction from viewers. Not only did announce their Super Bowl slot via Facebook Live, and release their ad ahead of time, they are also running a pre-Super Bowl contest to win $10,000-$50,000. This engages consumers with the brand, and spreads enormous awareness on Facebook.

Heinz is jumping in, too, enticing viewers to sign a petition to declare the Monday after the Super Bowl, “Smunday,” a national holiday. They haven’t yet reached their goal of 100,000 signatures, at which point they plan on sending the petition to Congress.

During the big game:

The novelty of the “Drumbeat” teasers and user-engagement that occurs before the Super Bowl does not discount the importance of the actual ads airing during the game.. The massive game-time viewership provides brands the opportunity to release a new slogan, or an entirely new campaign. For first-time Super Bowl advertisers, such as KFC and Busch in 2017, the premiere-factor is sufficient to create hype for the campaigns.

The teasers and promotions Snickers has released this year only garner more anticipation for the final aired content during the game. Humorous audition videos with a cardboard Adam Driver are leaving viewers wondering what that live 60 seconds will possibly entail.

Hyundai’s “live-documentary” approach relies on the before to promote their idea, but leaves viewers wondering throughout the game just what shots will make it in the 90-second feature right after the fourth quarter.

How do viewers then interact online as Super Bowl ads premiere? According to Adweek’s survey, most viewers will be on Facebook and/or other social media sites at some point during the game, but the quality of their interaction with brands isn’t as impressive – many will be simply live-post their thoughts.

After the big game:

When all is said and done, advertisers want to know the answers to the big questions. Did it work? Was it worth the huge investment?

For advertisers that engaged viewers on social sites, how much did traffic actually increase? Did new users visit websites and make more purchases after the Super Bowl ads were shown? Is your hashtag trending? How many people texted the number to receive a promotion on their next purchase? Do you have new customers after they entered to win your contest?

If Heinz’ ’Smunday’ becomes a national holiday or not, there will still be fans rejoicing or lamenting over the final results of the game. The commercials will be office-talk of the week, from ones that get stuck in your head, to the 30 seconds people care to never see again, to the ones that make a best-of Superbowl commercial list.

Advertisers make their campaigns around a 30 to 90 second chance to reach the most viewers than any other time slot of the year. And yet, if your team loses, it’s still acceptable to say “I was only watching for the commercials, anyway.”

*Post-gun: The advertisement slot right after the end of the game, but before the presentation of the Lombardi trophy.




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