How to Win the Super Bowl Ad Game Without Advertising on the Super Bowl
BY Carrie Kerpen
Newcastle was among the few winners of the #brandbowl that capitalized on the big game without spending the big bucks on a commercial.
14 billion Facebook ads (an ad a second for 469 years)
160 million sponsored content views
10 days of YouTube masthead ads
A full-length feature film
According to Jack Marshall of Digiday, these are just some of the ways you could spend the money that it would cost to advertise for 30 seconds on last night's Super Bowl. But it's more than just spending money elsewhere that can benefit small and large brands alike--it's actually capitalizing on "the big game" without spending the big dollars to air a national ad.
Last year, the Internet was abuzz to the point of nausea around Oreo's "Dunk in the Dark" tweet. As the power went out at the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo was quick to pounce with a compelling piece of creative that it tweeted in real time. Thus began a trend in which hordes of brands intended to do the exact same thing but often to no avail. At last night's Super Bowl, Oreo decided to step out and let others take a stab at real-time marketing. Though some brands had some good hits, most real-time marketing attempts have resulted in brands looking like they're simply trying too hard.
However, there was one type of spend this year that stood out from the others. It was a tactic that a few smart brands used efficiently and effectively, and they won the #brandbowl in ways that most of the big spending brands could only hope to do. The tactic was this: Recreate or mock Super Bowl ads using your own brand messaging. Here are three brands and how it worked for them:
Newcastle Brown Ale: For the past two weeks leading up to the big game, the Internet went wild with news of Newcastle's campaign. Claiming poverty, the beer company said it couldn't afford a Super Bowl ad, so it created a campaign called #ifwemadeit. Through a hysterical Web series, it built an entire leadup to the ad, including tricking a focus group, fictitiously hiring and firing Anna Kendrick, and a series of #ifwemadeit tweets. But the real way that Newcastle accelerated its conversation on game day was to create a series of ads mocking each of the actual ads that aired for brands--and showing how each would be better #ifnewcastle made it. Check out its Chobani ad, or its GoDaddy ad to get a good look at what the campaign was like. There were myriad conversations taking place on Twitter alone about the advertisements, so Newcastle's tapping into that conversation with its own twist made its story shareable and enjoyable.
Priceline.com: If your entire brand message is about saving money, you not only won't advertise on the Super Bowl, but even hiring stars like Anna Kendrick to star in your "noncommercial" might get pricey. Enter Priceline--and its use of Vine and sock puppets. Priceline, using the #ExpressReplay hashtag, created a series of real-time six-second videos in which it recreated plays from the game using sock puppets. It was easy, relevant, and shareable. In addition to the game plays, Priceline recreated many of the Super Bowl ads using the same puppets.
Tide: Procter & Gamble certainly has the money to spend on a Super Bowl ad, but Tide decided to take a different route. Tide took all of the commercials and linked its product to them by discussing how to remove stains incurred from the use of the products. Natural fits were Vine videos made about the Heinz ketchup ad. Less obvious fits like Carmax's ad were quickly incorporated by using their creative--for an ad like Carmax's about the "slow clap," Tide was able to tie "slow clap" to mess. When T-Mobile talked about "no contracts," Tide figured out how to make it about ink used for signatures. What was so brilliant about this concept was that it directly tied back to the product benefit of Tide while capitalizing on the buzz around Super Bowl ads.
What's the takeaway?
1. It's clear that brands talking to and about other brands is this year's #realtimemarketing. Perhaps we should call it #brandcommingling.
2. It shows that any brand, big or small, can get exposure during a big event like the Super Bowl by being smart, creative, and cutting through the clutter. If you look at each of these examples, you'll see that they all took creative approaches. They didn't just tweet random stuff. It was calculated, well thought out, and planned. At about 1/100th of the price, their results will be more memorable, and likely even more talked about, than the $4 million 30-second spots you saw last night.
CARRIE KERPEN is the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, which she grew from a husband-and-wife consulting firm into a global social media and word-of-mouth marketing agency. She led her team to more than $15 million in revenue and landed the agency on the Inc. 500 in 2011 and 2012. @CarrieKerpen