Super Bowl Ads: What’s Your Next Play?

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If you counted yourself as one of the 100 million-plus Super Bowl watchers on Sunday night, you were probably more entertained by some of the commercials rather than the lopsided blowout of a game. The Super Bowl ranks among the most widely watched TV events of the year with advertisers spending $4 million for a mere 30-second spot to produce and promote a marketing message before and after the game. Winners are sometimes rewarded with new sales, while the flops end up on the losing end of a huge investment, and questioning whether it was worth the spend, as my colleague Tom Erskine noted in a related blog.

Social media outlets such as Twitter and YouTube have changed the game over the past several years. They provide brands with an opportunity to promote their ads before and after the game, for far less than $4 million – raising the stakes for marketers and creating a greater return on their investment.

On Sunday evening we saw ads from some 50 global brands representing sport cars & trucks, beer, soft drinks, snack foods, cell phones, charities, trendy retailers and even yogurt. Did that expensive celebrity really add value to your message, or did the message pull on our heart strings enough to remember the product? The reality is that most ads are already forgotten. And it's only two days later.

For many viewers, watching the commercials has become just as fun as the game. Generating pre-game buzz is now considered critical as pressure is applied to ensure an ROI for the single ad spend of $4 million. Figuring out those results is much harder than you may suspect and driven by a factor they can’t control – the game itself.

The timing of the ad placement is also key! What impact did the first half blowout have on commercials airing later in the game? Did they watch the hip half-time show and tune out the second half, leaving several advertisers with far less eyeballs? I think it had to happen – even serious football fans have trouble watching a 29-0 game.

So where to go from here? What’s your next play?

Marketing must be more than just a huge ad spend on the Super Bowl. Corporations need to revolutionize marketing, turning every interaction into an opportunity to optimize value for their customers and a commercial along cannot accomplish that. Going far beyond streamlined campaign management, brands must seek to leverage sophisticated analytics and real-time decisioning to dynamically recommend the most relevant offer that effectively balances customer needs with business objectives.

Creative companies will seek to eliminate the gap in execution between what customers expect and what their business and marketers can deliver. It will combine a robust environment for designing and delivering multi-channel campaigns with powerful predictive and adaptive analytics, real-time decisioning and visually present best-practice marketing strategies and templates.

Is your company capable of designing campaigns for specific customer segments and channels and dynamically determining the most relevant offer for your customers? If not, your next move should include a cross-channel engagement strategy that can be continuously analyzed and adapted in real time to learn from changing customer behavior and able to deliver exactly the right offer in the right channel at the right moment.