Each year the NFL Super Bowl presents brands and PR companies with the perfect opportunity to utilise their creativity to develop and launch a unique campaign across their PR and marketing platforms. Interestingly, with over 100 million people watching, it is often the case that commercials aired during the Super Bowl create as much of a conversation-point after the game is over as the actual games themselves. However, as an increasing number of brands recognise the impact of a well thought-out social media campaign, this year is sure to mark a notable shift in focus, with companies looking beyond their reliance upon television commercials and print campaigns and more towards incorporating an effective social media and digital marketing campaign to connect with consumers. As is often the case with successful social media campaigns, the companies that are able to make the most of social media to extend the conversation, interaction and engagement across multiple platforms will undoubtedly see the most success. In light of this, outlined below are some of the ways that social media could be used effectively alongside this year's Super Bowl XLV event taking place on February 6:
1. Real-time engagement & interaction between brands & fans - With traditional advertising and Super Bowl commercials, the message has often been a one-way conversation. However, social media not only provides the perfect opportunity for brands to interact with their fans alongside high-profile events like the Super Bowl, it also, quite uniquely, enables them to do this in real-time, as the event is taking place. Additionally, multiple time-outs, end-of-quarters, half time and two-minute warnings mean that a sports event like the Super Bowl lends itself perfectly to a number of ideal opportunities for brands and consumers to interact during the game. For example, brands could develop a social media campaign that runs alongside the narrative of the event in real-time, reacting and being shaped as the game unfolds, incorporating user-generated content with a campaign that is innovative and interactive on every level.
2. Foursquare & location-based apps - The rapid growth in location-based apps such as Foursquare has resulted in more and more brands looking for different ways to utilise the latest geo-tagging trends to create engaging dialogue with fans and customers. Expect to see promotions incorporating the concept of "Where are you watching the Super Bowl?" whereby exclusive promotions, rewards and badges can be earned by users checking-in to certain Super Bowl locations.
3. QR code campaigns - A number of brands are starting to feature QR codes as part of their overall PR and advertising activities, and this is certainly a marketing tool that could be integrated effectively for a Super Bowl-orientated campaign. For example, exclusive content or promotional offers could be located within the QR codes found on limited-edition Super Bowl products or within printed promotions in magazines to further bring campaigns to life and add a social media dimension. Additionally, QR codes could also be used on televised commercials played during the Super Bowl as a way to encourage users to access exclusive web-based content and product discounts.
4. Get Glue - Thanks to the new Get Glue app launched last year, checking-in is no longer limited to geographical location, enabling users to check-in to entertainment and activities such as TV shows, movies and sports. As is the case with other popular check-in apps, Get Glue encourages users to unlock badges, stickers and achievements in order to access new content or electronic coupons. Again, a high-profile event like the Super Bowl presents an ideal opportunity for social media apps like Get Glue to be used in a whole new way. For example, simply by checking-in to the Super Bowl event and completing a set range of social media-based activities, brands can enable users to collect exclusive rewards including Super Bowl Get Glue stickers, promotional discounts, and free product offers.
5. Twitter Competitions / Campaigns - As announced last month, automotive giant Mercedes-Benz will be using the Super Bowl event to launch their upcoming "Twitter-Fueled Race" social media campaign - a campaign that encourages followers to team-up, Tweet about the brand as much as possible and collect the most "Likes" on Facebook in the run-up to the Super Bowl. The winning four teams will then take part in a race across the US fueled by Tweets from their followers. This is a fantastic example of taking a unique idea, aligning it with a high profile event, and integrating social media alongside traditional PR and marketing to create user engagement. That said, Mercedes-Benz will not be the only ones turning to Twitter to promote their brand around the Super Bowl period. Hashtag campaigns will also provide a great opportunity to take a popular event like the Super Bowl and utilise multiple-user conversations to create buzz around current campaigns and promotional offers. For example, companies could develop a competition whereby followers become game-day commentators through Twitter - tweeting about each highlight in the game, with the best and most captivating commentaries winning free products. In order to be entered, users would simply have to include a competition/brand-specific hashtag (for example, #SuperBowlMe) and shortened brand URL with all Tweets.
As a result of the significant growth of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, post-Super Bowl conversations are no longer limited to those with colleagues around the office water-cooler or among friends. Instead, brands now have the perfect opportunity to spark fan and customer conversations and engagement in an almost limitless social space. Furthermore, for those brands and online PR companies developing a creative social media campaign focusing upon fan participation and interactive content, the likely result is one that will not only be shared and talked about across multiple social media channels, but one that will facilitate ongoing fan engagement, connecting brands and consumers in a way that other forms of media have previously been unable to do.
(Article by George Guildford, Punch Communications)