Looking Beyond Super Bowl Advertising

One week ago today those of us in the advertising business were rapidly trying to keep tally of the marketing analyses coming out of Super Bowl Sunday. That and, after literally working through the night, catching up on sleep.

At Colle+McVoy, our third year of Super Bowl advertising research unearthed some similar social media findings as what we learned in our second year of looking at the meaning behind the data of Super Bowl chatter. For instance:

  • Pizza reigns supreme. More than wings, dips and other forms of sustenance.
  • You don’t necessarily have to advertise in the game to be mentioned or referenced during the game.
  • It isn’t always just about the ads.

After looking for some specific, deeper truths we were also able to say a few things in 2012 we simply didn’t know enough to ask of our analyses in 2011:

  • If the Papa John’s “Coin Toss Experience” is any indication, event marketing can be just as–if not more–impactful than running traditional advertising during the Super Bowl. The product placement helped the brand edge out Pizza Hut–which had purchased ad space during the pre-game show–by seven share points.
  • Ease trumps depth. Sure, you can say a lot more in a blog post, and back-and-forth discussion is more natural in a message board or forum. But when it comes to ease and immediacy, sporting enthusiasts run to Twitter. The microblog accounted for an estimated 97% of all content relevant for our Super Bowl queries. Blogs, forums and traditional news sites had equal share of the rest.
  • Given Twitter’s role, then, marketers will be intrigued (worried?) by a finding that might show how microblogging participants won’t necessarily adopt the hashtags set up as the “official” monikers for events or campaigns. No matter that #sb46 required fewer characters and was, therefore, the hashtag that made the most sense for Super Bowl tweets; fans this time around preferred the much longer options. Super Bowl Tags for Twitter
  • This is where we’d cue the expected comment referencing marketers’ concerns about lack of control in the social media space. It’s also, this time around, where I would air a theory that big game or event days might draw the novices out onto Twitter. (Just look at the character savings and hassle mitigation to be had with #sb46! Only a Twitter novice would miss that or simply not care, right?)
  • Along with the use of hashtags to promote [Twitter] campaigns during the game comes a broader finding that is perhaps more frustrating. Especially given the longevity of Super Bowl advertising now that all the spots are available for viewing on YouTube’s adblitz and elsewhere, the absence of digital or social references in the ads was shocking. We calculated less than three-quarters of spots included a site URL. Well less than a quarter included Twitter or Facebook. (While other sources cited digital and social integration rates much higher than what we found, I can’t help but look at methodologies as the cause of those differences. And anyway, inclusion of digital/social properties is different than truly connecting with audiences to do something there, as this great ReadWriteWeb post makes clear.)

Why not take a spin through the data on your own? There’s a lot to dig in to when it comes to SuperChatter. Perhaps you’ll see something in the numbers that begs of even further questioning when it comes to Super Bowl XLVII.

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