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Mobile wins for Super Bowl XLVIII social engagement, takes backseat in TV ads

While brands such as Mars and Procter & Gamble nailed creating mobile-specific social content in real-time during Sunday?s Super Bowl game, incorporating the medium into the $4 million TV ad continued to be a massive missed opportunity.

With the steep price tag for a 30-second TV ad during the Super Bowl, it would have made sense for brands to spark digital engagement via a mobile call-to-action and get more bang for their buck. Instead, mobile's presence was, if anything, less evident than during last year's game.

?It hurts to say it, but mobile had almost no impact this year,? said Ivan Braiker, CEO of Hipcricket, New York.

?Chevy had an SMS call-to-action prompt for MVP voting,? he said. ?There was at least one less prominent Shazam call-to-action, but that was it.?

?It seems advertisers saw this more as a popularity contest rather than a chance to actually connect with the largest TV audience of the year. The focus was very heavy on the creative and not on integrating the ads into a larger ecosystem that would pay dividends in the weeks and months to follow.?

Making the most of the TV ad
A handful of brands including H&M, Anheuser Busch and Jaguar incorporated mobile elements into their TV spots. 

However, these TV spots relied on consumers using second-screen apps at exactly the same time that an ad aired to access digital components to the ads, which remains to be the fundamental challenge that marketers have not cracked with second-screen campaigns.

For example, H&M?s big TV spot featuring David Beckham let consumers with a Samsung smart TV buy clothes from the commercial. However, the technology is limited to a small number of consumers with compatible TV sets and also requires that consumers download a special app beforehand to shop (see story). 

Anheuser Busch?s Bud Light has now linked Shazam into its Super Bowl ads for a few years and again decided to use the technology this year in its ?Cool Twist? ad to launch a new campaign around the tagline ?The perfect beer for whatever happens.?

The ad promotes a new beer with a recloseable lid that is also made out of aluminum to keep the can cold.

The Shazam logo popped up during the ad, and when consumers use the app to tag the commercial, a landing page prompts consumers to verify their age. From there, consumers can watch the commercial again and share it across Facebook and Twitter.

The ad featured Afrojack?s song ?Ten Feet Tall,? and the Shazam tag lets consumers enter their email address to receive a free code to download it from Apple?s iTunes.

Additionally, a store locator feature let consumers use their location to find the product in a store nearby. The stores can then be viewed as a map or a list.

By continuing to include TV-to-mobile elements in its ads, the brand is betting big on consumers using their mobile devices while watching TV to unlock exclusive content. 

Bud Light then followed up its TV ad with ads running within the Pandora iPhone app on Monday morning that encouraged consumers to find a cool twist product nearby to them by downloading the brand?s Fan Zone app, which played a key role in the beer marketer?s Super Bowl campaign (see story).

Jaguar similarly used Shazam within its Super Bowl ad to promote its new F-Type Coupe around the tagline ?It?s good to be bad? that examines why British actors are typically cast as villains in thriller movies. 

?Mobile may not fit with every ad for the Super Bowl, but a lot of brands missed a real opportunity to continue the relationship beyond the initial TV spot,? said Alex Campbell, cofounder and chief innovation officer at Vibes, Chicago.

Building social engagement
At the same time that some of ads during the big game fell flat without a mobile call-to-action, brands significantly stepped up their social and mobile initiatives on Sunday night.

Big brands including Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Ford and Mars all leveraged promoted tweets to make their tweets pop out during the game.

"In 2014 we expect marketers to continue to invest in real time techniques that were utilized in the Super Bowl," said Walter Delph, CEO of Adly, Los Angeles.

"Hasthtags will continue to be utilized but other techniques such as contests and sweepstakes will be used," he said.

Then digital-savvy brands layered unique mobile and social content into their tweets that was created in real-time.

Take Procter & Gamble?s Tide, for example.

In lieu of a big-budget TV spot, Tide leveraged the Vine mobile app to send out quick bits of video in real-time.

The brand?s short videos were directed at other brands? TV spots.

For example, General Mills-owned Cheerios ran a spot that featured a dad telling his daughter that she is about to be a big sister. The daughter says that she also wants a puppy in addition to a little brother, which the dad agrees to.

In response to the Cheerios ad, Tide created a video tagged with Cheerios? Twitter handle warning the cereal brand about the stains from puppies.

Tide?s Super Bowl effort is part of a bigger push that Tide is making around its stain-removing products. A digital campaign around the hashtag #Getsitout ties into the Vine videos.

Tide?s campaign shows the gains that short-form video this year. Big consumer-packaged goods brands already rely on TV advertising for branding, but video app Vine forces marketers to think more creatively about their ad in six seconds or less while also hitting a growing digital audience.

Priceline also enlisted Vine and promoted tweets to take a stab at Audi?s Super Bowl spot.

Audi?s Super Bowl ad was based around the idea that the company does not compromise its brand for style.

Priceline?s Vine video promoted its Express Deals via a Vine video that was tweeted at Audi?s Twitter handle. Similar to the car brand?s message, Priceline also touted not compromising with its services.

Mars? M&M?s also took a unique approach with digital for its Super Bowl spot. The brand built up hype for a 45-second TV spot through social media.

The brand also leveraged Vine to create animated scenes in real-time during the game to remake plays from the game.

Additionally, marketers including Chrysler, Honda, Esurance and Hyundai incorporated hashtags into their ads to push consumers to Facebook and Twitter after the ad ran.

With the majority of social media taking place via smartphones and tablets during the Super Bowl game, the number of marketers leveraging mobile-specific content was one of the biggest wins this year.

In fact, data from Engagor found that 90 percent of social media buzz took place via mobile during Sunday night?s game.

The company analyzed 583,152 tweets and 650,757 Facebook posts related to the Super Bowl in its survey.

?Without mobile, the buzz on social media would have been significantly smaller,? said Folke Lemaitre, CEO/founder of Engagor, Gent, Belgium.

?Most people were likely watching the game with their mobile phones in-hand/pocket or nearby at all times,? he said. ?This gives people instant access to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to post real-time comments about ads they were seeing. Mobile is just a much quicker and easier way to stay engaged.?

Pre-game hype
Jack in the Box took a slightly different approach to its Super Bowl campaign this year by leveraging SMS and MMS in conjunction with a TV ad to introduce a new burger called Bacon Insider.

The Bacon Insider burger features a patty that is made from a mixture of beef and bacon with bacon strips and bacon mayo.

On Friday, Jack in the Box leaked the 30-second commercial to its SMS database with a video message.

Then on Sunday before the game, the quick-service restaurant sent out a coupon code to try the new burger.

The message read, ?After the Big Game today, make a touchdown in your mouth and head to my place to try the new Bacon Insider burger.?

A coupon code that could only be redeemed yesterday was included in the message for a buy-one-get-one free product. The code could then be entered at the point-of-sale by an employee.

Enlisting an SMS database to not only give consumers a sneak peek at products but also dole out an offer is a smart way for Jack in the Box to create a mobile-specific campaign out of its TV spot.

Carrier wars
T-Mobile enlisted football player Tim Tebow for its ads to promote its no-contract plans. 

The spot pokes fun of the athlete?s last contract-less year in the NFL. Mr. Tebow takes on a number of different jobs in the ad ? including a doctor and a firefighter ? that show the different career paths that Mr. Tebow has available to him without being tied to a team with a contract.

A call-to-action at the end of the spot tells consumers that if they choose to switch over to T-Mobile, the carrier will pay to end their current contract.

Additionally, the brand?s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google + accounts are promoted at the end of the ad to drive consumers to the brand?s social platforms.

T-Mobile is known for its aggressive marketing that constantly looks to one-up the other carriers, which was downplayed in its Super Bowl ad to instead spin out a story from one of the company?s services.

Turing TV spots into app downloads
Time Warner Cable, FiOS and Beats all leveraged Super Bowl TV ads to drive app downloads.

For example, Time Warner Cable showcased mobile streaming in the company?s Super Bowl ad.

Entertainer P. Diddy walks through a scene with TV personalities including NBC?s Jimmy Fallon, Food Network?s Anne Burrell and the cast from A&E?s Duck Dynasty while explaining to viewers that they can watch programming on their smartphones and tablets in addition to desktops by downloading the broadcaster?s mobile app.

The commercial fits in with Time Warner?s bigger TV Everywhere initiative and running a call-to-action in its TV spot helps the broadcaster get the word out about its digital offerings.

FiOS also promoted its mobile apps and digital services during a TV spot.

On the other hand, new music streaming service and Pandora and Spotify competitor Beats featured Ellen DeGeneres to portray a modern day Goldilocks from the childhood story ?The Three Bears.?

Ms. DeGeneres tries out several different types of music through Beats? mobile app to help find the perfect type of music and filters her choices by several criteria. 

A call-to-action at the end of the ad promotes Beats? $14.99 family plan with icons below that show the company?s app available on iPhone, Android and Windows devices.

While these kinds of initiatives may be successful at getting consumers to try out a new app or mobile program, little was done this year to serve up compelling content once the ad and game ended.

?We expected to see efforts to re-engage,? Hipcricket?s Mr. Braiker said.

?We expected to see strong second-screen positioning and content so viewers could connect and access extra content in the moment, and we saw neither of these,? he said.

?There was so much potential for mobile leading up to this game. That potential was squandered.? 

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York