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Mobile upsets TV in Super Bowl marketing showdown

Brands such as Chevy and Pepsi scored their own touchdowns during yesterday?s Super Bowl game with second-screen experiences that took advantage of the growing number of football fans who engaged with their mobile devices while they watched the game on television.

Super Bowl TV ads often create a lot of buzz because the game is an opportunity for brands to get in front of one of the largest TV audiences of the year, so they spend according to try to create exciting experiences. However, this year the numerous brands with mobile second experiences outshone standalone TV ads for generating the most excitement and buzz.

?Caring about eyeballs was your grandfather?s ad agency,? said Dan Israel, Atlanta-based strategy lead for the mobile practice at SapientNitro.

?What matters today is how many people with smartphones can be gathered in one location at one time,? he said. ?The Super Bowl rules in this category.

?A brand can?t get a better opportunity for people to interact with them on their most intimate piece of technology at one time than while watching the Super Bowl.?

Extending engagements
Brands started experimenting with second screen experiences last year but the Super Bowl is the first live TV event for which mobile played a role for so many different brands.

The list of brands using mobile to either complement their TV advertising or instead of traditional advertising during yesterday?s game includes Best Buy, Chevy, Toyota, Pepsi and Subway.

The mobile strategies used by these brands included developing their own mobile app for the game, tagging TV advertising with a mobile or social call to action, sponsoring mobile games expected to be used by viewers during the game or partnering with an app such as Shazam that lets users tag ads to unlock exclusive offers and content.

?Mobile device owners have adopted mobile as a second screen experience and marketers and brands are starting to get it,? said Radha Subramanyam, senior vice president of media analytics at Nielsen, New York.

?Second screen experiences are a good way to have that ad live beyond that 30 seconds,? she said.

Marketers are gravitating toward mobile second screen experiences because, as smartphone and tablet penetration grows, so does the number of consumers who are using their mobile devices to follow up on an ad they see on TV, text friends about something they saw on TV and otherwise engage with their mobile devices.

Mobile second screen engagements are particularly popular around big events such as the Super Bowl.

Nearly 60 percent of mobile users planned to look at or use their mobile device during the Super Bowl, according to a survey from Velti and Harris Interactive.

However, it is not only during big TV events such as the Super Bowl that are attracting second screen engagements.

According to Nielsen, in the third quarter of 2011, 68 percent of tablet users said they use their tablet several times a week or more while watching TV and 63 percent of smartphone users said they engage at a similar frequency.

More bang for the buck
Another reason for the push into mobile second screen experiences is that brands pay a lot for TV advertising and want to get the most out of it by driving further engagement if they can.

In 2011, Nielsen found that Super Bowl ads including social media tags that directed viewers to a link on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube were more 33 percent more memorable for viewers.

?Advertisers are seeing second-screen opportunities as a natural move to drive engagement in the moment of big-screen advertising - especially when it comes at such a premium as the Super Bowl,? said David Hewitt, Atlanta-based global mobile practice lead at SapientNitro.

?Adding an interactive component on smart phone or tablet both extends the time spent, gives consumers an opportunity to participate, and leverages a more cost-effective and measurable channel to continue the brand conversation," he said.

If brands see success with their second screen initiatives, there is likely to more of this marketing activity this year.

It is likely brands will create second screen experiences for other big events such as the upcoming Oscars ceremony as well as for TV programming more generally.

?Right now it is just experimentation, but I think it is pretty exciting,? said Dan Shust, vice president of RI:Lab, the emerging technologies development arm for Resource Interactive, Columbus, OH.

?Second screen experiences driven by soundprint technology are really starting to deliver on the decade old promise of interactive television,? he said.

?I think success will be determined initially by engagement, number of participants, etc. We need to figure out if people enjoy and will interact with these experiences first, but if they prove to be effective they will become pervasive in short order.?

Far from a fad
Many of the brands partnering with Shazam for the Super Bowl are doing so for the first time. The list of marketers partnering with Shazam includes Toyota, Best Buy,, Pepsi, Teleflora, GE and Disney.

Yesterday?s Super Bowl was the first time Shazam could be used to interact with ads during a live event.

?The sheer volume of advertisers trying different things means this is far from a fad ? it is the revolution for making TV ads interactive,? David Jones executive vice president of marketing for Shazam, London.

?What is so powerful is that it is so easy for the user to instantly know what they are watching,? he said. ?It is a rich experience.?

While it is still early days, some best practices are already beginning to emerge when it comes to creating second screen experiences, including the need for a clear call to action.

?Toyota?s TV ad includes the on-screen call to action ?Shazam to win a Camry? ? that is powerful and clear and gives a reason for TV viewers to act,? Mr. Jones said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York