It’s Super Bowl time, and once again there is as much anticipation about the game’s ads as there is about the game itself. I wanted to use my first post on the Daily Fix to discuss the ad we ran during last year’s game featuring Kevin Federline and his “Life Comes at You Fast” moment.
I’m always interested to see how companies capitalize on public interest in what is still advertising’s biggest stage. It appears that most advertisers are sticking with the traditional approach of saving their spot, or at least its punch line for the game itself, as opposed to sharing it with the public early.
But is that really the best way to maximize the $2.7 million investment this year’s advertisers are making?
Is that the best way to engage customers?
Last year, some industry purists were aghast when we at Nationwide Insurance decided to release our Super Bowl spot online a week before the game. There was even some debate among our own advertising team about whether this was “spoiling the surprise” and watering down the ad’s game-time impact. Others on our team saw it as a golden opportunity to build a buzz and connect more closely with our customers …. old and new.
In the end, our decision to share the ad early generated more than just media value for Nationwide. Featured in thousands of news stories and blogs posts … most of which happened before kick-off …. the ad was crowned by Nielsen BuzzMetrics as the blogosphere’s hottest Super Bowl advertising topic. What’s more, when posted on nationwide.com, the ad attracted more than 600,000 visitors to our company’s web site, including about half a million who had never visited before!
That was enough to convince our company’s leadership (who are more interested in selling insurance than winning ad industry style points) that the substantial investment we made in the game was well spent. It’s also worth noting that our strategy didn’t prevent the spot from making several prominent “best of” lists and continues to be the source of substantial buzz a year later.
This experience has made me a true believer in the power social media. In fact, the early buzz we built by making the ad available to social media outlets became a catalyst for overwhelming interest from traditional media.
It will be interesting to see if this year’s advertisers stick with the traditional approach or try to take advantage of the opportunity to share the ad early. I’ll be the first to admit that one strategy does not fit all advertisers.
So, as we approach this year’s game, who’s doing a good job of leveraging their Super Bowl investment to generate buzz and engage their customers? One thing is for sure …. we’ll all be watching.