It's not too late. Repeat after me: It's not too late!
Yes, there's still time to take additional steps to significantly increase odds of success -- or at least build sustained buzz -- around your Super Bowl spot. After all, football aside, this is also the Super Bowl of paid-owned-and-earned-media (POEM) convergence. In a digitally enabled world where agility, flexibility and real-time come into play, it's never too late to fine-tune, sync and synergize the plan.
So let's assume you have one (maybe more) $3 million-a-pop Super Bowl ad in the hopper. You've also dropped major coin into production and perhaps a bit more into pregame PR. What else can you do? Here are 10 tips to boost your Super Bowl buzz.
1. Ignite the site. If a consumer really digs your spot, he or she will intuitively go to your website, which still shows up the top of search results against brand queries. While websites today are more akin to distribution centers vs. destinations, you still need to be ready. Prime all available tools, from simple search to "contact us." In particular, ensure the ad is readily available on the home page, front and center -- even by kick-off.
2. Man the stands. Surrounding the brand website is the "brand stand" ecosystem. Brand stands include Facebook fan pages, Twitter brand accounts or branded YouTube pages. Load up relevant content and maximize fans and followers ahead of time. It sounds so basic, but you'd be shocked how many brands blow off this strategy. Bud Light's "Guess the Spot" promotion is a good example of aggressively working the brand stands ahead of time.
3. Real-time the radar. Timing is everything. You don't necessarily need a PepsiCo-Gatorade-style listening "war room," but you do need a real-time feed and pulse on reactions that can aid interventions, engagement strategy and or even defensive moves. Track all forms of consumer-generated media, stay wired to search-engine queries and pipe your consumer-affairs data to all relevant brand managers in real-time. Share the data with key teams who can act on the big insights or tactical learning as quickly as possible, from tweaks on your website. At NM Incite, we're pumping reports to clients before, during and after the game, often combined with other Nielsen data sources.
4. Greet the tweets. Staff your Twitter account generously, and don't be shy about thanking or "high-five-ing" anyone who says something positive about the spot. Avoid being sales-y -- just be grateful. Give the consumer some airtime, and keep the love in play. If possible, get your spokesperson or celebrity involved, much like Justin Bieber's effort for Best Buy. Mercedes-Benz is so committed to this principle they've got a fully baked Twitter race in play.
5. Lube the tube. Be smart, aggressive and ubiquitous with video. Within seconds of your ad hitting the airways -- or in some cases, beforehand -- make sure it's available on YouTube, Facebook and other venues consumers treat as DVR surrogates. And make all video sharable and embeddable. Turn it into social currency. Repeat exposure boosts ad-effectiveness equation and primes advocacy. Pepsi and Frito-Lay are uniquely advantaged on this front as they've got a five-year archive of "Crash the Super Bowl" contest entries, including some really good ones this year.
6. Speaker the seekers. When fans approach your website or brand stands -- whether through "contact us," FAQ, the brand search engine, brand app or site map -- empower them to speak out. Ask for a testimonial or video review. Ask them to rate the spot. This is a priceless opportunity to build an army of ambassadors who could come in handy next time your launch a new product. Make it really simple for these consumers to embed the ad copy or jingle associated with it and send to or share with others.
7. Route the raves. Similarly, be ready to recommend things your biggest fans or advocates can do. You might, for instance, encourage brand enthusiasts to vote for your ads on Super Bowl ad-ranking sites like USA Today Ad Meter and the Hulu AdZone. (You can also embed the Hulu AdZone widget on your site or blog.) Most viewed/highest ranking ads have better placement on the sites and increased chances for more views. Salesforce.com will be in a unique position to route the raves directly to its new b-to-b social-networking service, Chatter.
8. Serve and smile. Service is marketing. It makes people feel important and dignified, and it can trigger big "earned media" and word-of-mouth dividends. Take the "don't talk to me" sign off the contact-us form and 800-number section. Grab feedback in Spanish (trust me, you'll need this segment). Make sure "TV advertising" is a field in your feedback and contact-us forms. And give your call-center reps, who also may be answering tweets, all the dish they can handle about ads.
9. Exploit the extras. Your Super Bowl ad fans will take all the scoopage you can provide about why and how the spot was made. Think about "extras" you might exploit from the cutting-room floor -- outtakes, old copy reels from previous years. Nationwide did a brilliant job of this with Kevin Federline several years ago. Influencers love to know it first and tell it first. A few brands effectively doing this now include GoDaddy, Firestone, Hyundai and Cars.com.
10. Service the search. Search still remains the top online activity, so think hard about how consumers might stumble onto your ad via a search query. If you are CareerBuilder, expect consumers to type "monkeys" into Google. If you are Budweiser, expect searches on terms like "Clydesdales" or "horse ads." If you have a celebrity in the mix, buy keywords for his or her name ... at least before, during and after the game. A few advertisers like Firestone are already aggressively advertising spots. Even some non-advertisers like PETA are opportunistically taking full advantage of this principle through precision search buys.
The big operative words here are readiness, agility and advocacy. Don't leave anything to chance. Big bucks are on the line. The best play is an integrated, cross-platform play.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
Pete Blackshaw is chief marketing officer of NM Incite, a joint venture of Nielsen & McKinsey, and author of "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000."