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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  How to Win the Super Bowl “Ad” Game

How to Win the Super Bowl “Ad” Game

Posted on February 1, 2012 and read 2,358 times

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jordanatlas How to Win the Super Bowl Ad GameJordan Atlas


troy scarlott How to Win the Super Bowl Ad GameTroy Scarlott


Advertisers and brands that are destined to raise the proverbial advertising Lombardi Trophy after the 2012 Super Bowl “Ad” Game might want to look beyond simply producing that “one great spot.” While that “one great spot” may win the USA Today Ad Meter, garner positive reviews and chalk up numerous industry accolades, the true winner of the Super Bowl “Ad” Game will be the collective client/agency team that both created that “one great spot,” and pro-actively built an in-depth social hub for that “one great spot” to live on well after the big game ends.

Working across multiple disciplines, the true winner of the 2012 Super Bowl “Ad” Game will have thought about much more than thirty seconds of air-time. The winner will have engaged in the following process:

  • Build media and mass audience excitement through pre-game press releases, announcements and video teasers. This year we have seen numerous teasers, the most popular being VW’s The Bark and Honda’s Ferris Bueller video.
  • Launch a social media ecosystem before the game. Brands like GoDaddy and Doritos are building entire online campaigns around their spots and driving action as opposed to just brand awareness.
  • Deliver a call-to-action to watch the spot in a specific quarter of the game. Almost every brand is taking control of its destiny and telling consumers when to take the bathroom break so they don’t miss their spot.
  • Run the spot during the big game and make it good. As creatives who have worked on past Super Bowl spots, we know that creating Super Bowl commercials takes months of hard work, a brave and trusting client and a little bit of luck. Simply making a great spot isn’t enough. It’s only the price of admission. What each brand is actually hoping for is that they have lightning in a bottle or at least a little kid in a Darth Vader costume. Consumers want to be entertained and the best clients are the ones that always remember that, especially when it comes time to make the final decisions on what will run.
  • If and only if the idea dictates it, buy a full: 60 seconds for bigger production value and richer storytelling. With the average cost of a :30 spot coming in at $3.5M this year, many brands not only didn’t blink, they actually upped the ante. Many have adopted a “go big or go home” strategy by producing :60 spots. In instances such as this, when more time serves to enhance the idea, the entire creative team (from agency to client to production company) is afforded more opportunity help bring the story to life, build emotion and deliver a well-crafted message that will hopefully elevate the work beyond the requisite cliché guy humor, talking animals or hollow CGI-driven executions.
  • Build hubs online for the spot(s) to live. Everywhere. Before, during and especially after the game, consumers will be grabbing some device to view the spots they loved or the ones they missed. Be ready for them.
  • Engage in social activation around the campaign (spot) so that it remains relevant. One of the goals of a Super Bowl spot is to avoid being just a $3.5 million one hit wonder. The spot needs to work harder for both the brand and the campaign. It is estimated that 110 million people will watch the Super Bowl. That’s a lot of eyeballs. Which, of course, begs the question; what happens after your :30 seconds are over? The winner will be the brand that knows this answer and is ready to drive more impressions, greater awareness or even pursue purchase intent. This strategy will generate huge dividends for advertisers like Best Buy, TaxAct and even the movie studios.
  • Win awards in the ad industry. Both client and agency worked hard, and found success in their strategy, production and final spot. Enjoy the rewards.
  • Generate millions of views on YouTube. Now that you received a pat on the back, get back in the game and continue to drive. VW’s Darth Vader spot has over 45 million views on YouTube, nearly half of the number who watched the Super Bowl last year. And these are quality views as people chose to view it. You do the math.
  • Build on the momentum and start planning for 2013. The planning, creative and media strategy are all working together and creating success. Remember to build on it as today’s consumer has three screens vying for what little attention span she or he has.

In looking back at the past three years, the USA Today Ad Meter’s winning spot was a clever, funny :30 second spot, for a big brand (2009 Bud Light, 2010 Snickers, 2011 Doritos). All three of these were fun to watch and provided a lot of discussion during the game. However, we believe, the true winners of the Super Bowl “Ad” Game will be the brands who remember that the “ad” game really begins when the big game ends.

Of course, since this is a Super Bowl article attempting to forecast what will and won’t work on the big day, it wouldn’t be complete without our prediction. Based on what we’ve seen so far, Chrysler, M&M’s and VW have the strategy to win. Let’s see if they have the spot to get it all started.

Oh, and the Patriots by 4.

  • Mike Bayfield

    Great article guys. A 101 on how ‘traditional’ advertising
    needs to work in the digital age. I submitted an article myself a couple of days ago
    which just touches on this, but you’ve really laid it all out. I’ll print this out and use as a checklist.




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