16-05 Segment 2: Selling the Super Bowl

 

Synopsis: The Super Bowl is the big game for the NFL, but it’s also the biggest game for advertisers. Many people who don’t even like football, tune into the game just to see the ads. But what makes a really good Super Bowl ad? We talk to three marketing specialists about how to craft a good ad, how ads are effectively measured and what makes an ad memorable.

Host: Marty Peterson. Guests: Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer for 4C Insights; David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; Richard Krevolin, branding consultant and author of the book, The Hook: How to share your brand’s unique story to engage customers, boost sales, and achieve heartfelt success.

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Selling the Super Bowl: How advertisers buy, create and measure their ads

Marty Peterson: Super Bowl 50 is almost here, and fans are making their plans to party at home and at other venues, and a lucky few are heading off for California to watch the game at Levi’s Stadium. Those of us who stay home and watch are almost as excited about the commercials as we are about the action on the field – and the advertisers know it! They’ve been planning their ads for months and securing their spot in the telecast, which this year, is going for 5-million dollars for 30 seconds. Is the Super Bowl a good investment, though? What kinds of ads play the best? And how do companies know they got the most bang for their big bucks? To find out, we asked three marketing specialists. First, Aaron Goldman Chief Marketing Officer for 4C Insights, a media measurement company. He says that the Big Game is the big time for advertisers for several reasons…

Aaron Goldman: At the end of the day the Super Bowl is the single biggest place to reach a massive number of people. And for advertisers, you can reach them all at the same time, with the same message, which is increasingly rare in today’s day and age where a lot of people are now going digital and watching TV, as they call it, “over the top,” whether that’s through things like Netflix or Hulu, or even if they’re using their kind of traditional, broadcast and cable means, they’re, you know, recording it on a DVR and time-shifting and watching later. And the Super Bowl is kind of the last bastion of live, linear television.

Peterson: Goldman says it’s the best place to advertise for companies that want to make a big splash, get their names and products out there and even just keep their names in the public’s consciousness. But how do you know your demographics before you invest millions in ads? Those commercials are created and the time bought before anyone even knows who’s playing…

Goldman: I think in the case of the Super Bowl, it almost doesn’t matter who’s playing, it’s a national event and people will tune in from everywhere to watch it. Sure, you have the, you know the rabid fans who have their teams that are lucky enough to be in the game are probably more actively engaged than others. But it is something that all fans are tuning in for and, frankly, even non-fans. You get a lot of people this is the one game a year they watch because they know it’s such a big production or sometimes they just want to see the fun ads.

Peterson: We’ve seen a lot of familiar companies at the Super Bowl – Frito Lay, Coca-Cola, and Honda just to name a few. We also see some smaller companies such as WeatherTech and Go Daddy. Who benefits most from spending that much money on an ad – the big guys or the upstarts?

David Stewart: There is a benefit that differs depending on size…

Peterson: That’s David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles…

Stewart: The smaller companies actually reap the biggest benefits because not only do they get the spike in awareness, spike in positive attitude, that tends to persist over time, it tends to go up and doesn’t really come back down. Coupled with the fact that there tends to be kind of a “halo effect” in that people report greater satisfaction and greater purchase intention after having seen a Super Bowl ad for a smaller-share brand.

Peterson: Stewart says that in order to create and keep the momentum going before and after the ad plays, companies need to use social media to get the ball rolling on their brand…and keep it rolling…

Stewart: Putting the ads online in your own website, on YouTube, on Vine, on various social media can be very powerful. Using social media to encourage people to tune in to the ad, sort of creating a sense of anticipation. You know, “our ad’s going to be great, be sure to tune in.” That can be very helpful. Encouraging people to share with others an ad that’s posted online can be very powerful. A company that’s done this very, very well is Frito-Lay which runs a competition where their consumers create advertising content and the winning ad is run in the Super Bowl itself, with a sizeable prize if the ad plays very well.

Peterson: What makes an ad memorable besides spreading it around social media? Richard Krevolin says it should tell a compelling story. Krevolin is a branding and story-telling consultant to large and small companies, and author of the book, The Hook: How to share your brand’s unique story to engage customers, boost sales, and achieve heartfelt success…

Richard Krevolin: For most companies and you can see it all across the board in different types of business, we have to do more than just talk about function. We have to emotionally differentiate ourselves. “Why are we different?” Well you can talk about Coke and Pepsi, but you see all the advertising Coke is doing over Christmas and it’s about emotions. They don’t even mention anything about the product. It’s about joy and happiness and Christmas giving. It’s interesting when you have a product that, especially, that’s been around for a while you can go beyond the function, what the product does.

Peterson: And Krevolin says that nobody tells a heartfelt story better than Anheuser-Busch and the Clydesdales…

Krevolin: They’ve done a tremendous job with their stories, and that’s obviously what I’ve dedicated my life to is storytelling and every year I enjoy looking forward to the Anheuser-Busch TV commercials because they’re not talking about their hops, they’re not talking about their brewing process, they’re telling stories about horses or dogs. There was the runaway dog last year. They’re really beautifully shot, they’re really touching stories that people will watch over and over again online and share with their friends.

Peterson: You know that they’re doing well with their spot when they don’t even have to show the product for people to remember that they’re selling beer. But how does a company know how well it’s doing? Goldman says that his company, 4C, uses all kinds of high-tech communications systems and measuring tools…

Goldman: The first is through Teletrax, which is a network of monitoring that we’ve installed across the globe, so we’re active in 76 countries. We’ve got monitoring stations that ever second are measuring what’s on air on 2,200 channels. And we are tracking the content or program that’s running as well as any ad or commercial that may come up in between. And we’re continually indexing all of this information and within just a matter of seconds we can verify if a certain program or commercial ran and that’s the first step: Just seeing what actually ran on the big screen. The second step in terms of measuring the response is the viewership. And that comes from a couple of different sources. Set-top box data is a great way for us to be able to see if people are actively engaged or fast-forwarding through the commercials, and so that’s something that can also come in within a matter of hours.

Peterson: They get the data from “watermarks” that they insert in the ads and from cable and satellite TV set-top boxes. Goldman says that they also measure what people are doing in social media…

Goldman: We’re tracking more than 1.5 billion individuals across Facebook and Twitter through publicly-available information, I should mention – we’re not doing anything nefarious here – and we’re able to see if they’re engaging with brands or with celebrities or with football teams in the case of the Super Bowl and we can see what they’re posting about, what they’re Tweeting about and we’re able to draw some of those correlations back against what was running on the television. So because we’re seeing every second what’s actually being broadcast on air, we can map those timestamps against social media and begin to see some of these patterns. And we’ll see, you know, when a commercial runs we’ll see a spike in chatter on social media; or when a big play happens in the game, we can see an increase in engagement around it. And those are the types of correlations that are really important for broadcasters and advertisers to understand what the resonance is with what’s being broadcast and if the consumers are actually doing anything with it.

Peterson: Even as our guests said the Super Bowl will get a huge audience no matter who’s playing, Stewart says that given their choice, advertisers would like to see a particular type of game on Super Sunday…

Stewart: You really want a game that’s very competitive; preferably one that’s high scoring that keeps interest value high. The last thing an advertiser wants is a defensive slug-match that ends like 6-3. People tend to lose interest. But when there’s a lot of scoring, it’s very competitive, goes down to the last minute, that type of game tends to hold people’s attention throughout. That makes for good places to advertise throughout the game.

Peterson: So, do our guests have any advice on making a Super Bowl ad that’s as memorable as Coca-Cola’s 1980 “Mean Joe Greene,” or Apple Computer’s 1984 Orwellian masterpiece? Krevolin says, make it meaningful to your brand and the viewers…

Krevolin: If we spend the money to connect to these people, what is the true essence of the message we’re trying to convey? And then, is this form of video, is this communication we have, something that’s going to help us as a brand and are we going to be able to do it in a way that’s unique and memorable and people are going to be emotionally moved? In the end, I like to define stories and information wrapped in emotion.

Peterson: Goldman and Stewart say don’t think about your spot in isolation…

Goldman: This is not a one and done type of thing where you’re going to create something, it’s going to run during the game and, you know, it’s going to go great. If that happens, then good for you, but it’s really important to engage across all different channels and especially social media.

Stewart: It’s really important for firms who are contemplating placing an ad in the Super Bowl or some other major event to really think about a broader marketing campaign that simply uses the advertisement as a starting point around which you’ll build a much larger campaign that will start before and after the event.

Peterson: You can find some of the Super Bowl ads online already, and you’ll be able to see them and even vote on your favorites during and after the game. To learn more about how to tell a good story for your brand, pick up Richard Krevolin’s book, The Hook, available now. You can also visit his website at PowerStoryConsulting.com. Aaron Goldman invites listeners to visit his company’s site at the number 4, the letter C, insights.com (4cinsights.com). And to find out more about David Stewart and Loyola Marymount University, log onto their site at lmu.edu. And you can visit our site at Viewpoints online.net. You can find archives of past programs there and on iTunes and Stitcher. Our show is written and produced by Pat Reuter. Our production directors are Sean Waldron and Reed Pence. I’m Marty Peterson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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