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Superbowl 2011 and the missing (mobile) link

Posted by Robert Davis on February 9th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

So you’re out to re-position, or even re-invent your brand – what better place to do it than the Super Bowl? Everybody watches it, and it’s a time when viewers are particularly receptive to your story; after all, these days the ads are the big story for some, and a close runner-up to the game for many others.

After laying out oodles of cash for television time and impressive spots, what do you do next to help cement your success? This year, you probably did a couple things. You previewed the spot online to build buzz. You made sure your website supported the brand proposition on click through. And in most cases, you built in multi-channel social engagement during and after the game.

But if you’re a marketer at Chrysler, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Skechers or any of the movie studios advertising big new movies, you forgot to think about the guy on the sofa with a smartphone in his hands. Especially the one who was interested in your brand. That’s right – you spent millions to reach consumers in a high-impact environment but didn’t build a mobile site to let them take action right away on the interest your ad created. In fact, nearly half of Super Bowl advertisers didn’t have a mobile site.

To quantify what they missed:

  • In 2010, Pew Internet found that in the 30-49 age cohort, 43% of Americans now access the internet on their smartphones. (A 12 point increase over 2009.)
  • Among the 18-29 year olds, that number increases to 65%.

And to put it in perspective alongside Twitter:

  • Of the 30-49 age cohort, only 7% use Twitter.
  • Among 18-29 year olds, just 14%.

To be fair, social media strategies we saw this year had more to them than Twitter – Audi’s “estate sale” Facebook promotion, for example. But Audi’s other big social concept was based on driving use of a conceptual hashtag – and consequently was aimed at a tiny fraction of their audience. (Among 50 – 64 year olds – those likely to buy a big fat Audi A8 – only 6% used Twitter, as of December 2010.) I’m sure the agency would point out that small groups of highly influential individuals tend to profile well against both advanced social media use and likelihood to influence purchasers. I know I’d probably haul out that rationale, but I’m not sure I’d really be able to feel good about it.

And if you’re Chrysler, and you just spent millions on a spot that powerfully communicates a new positioning for a company attempting to rise from its own ashes – how do you justify not providing an immediate next step?

For anyone looking for Super Bowl advertisers with great mobile sites that really delivered on the next step, check out Kia, Hyundai, GoDaddy, and VW. And be sure not to miss SalesForce’s mobile microsite for Chatter, which let you start the signup process for a free trial in a beautifully simple way – and gives Salesforce what they needed to follow up with you through your work email, thus moving the conversation from your living room sofa to the office. The site’s not elegant, but it’s remarkably effective at furthering prospect engagement.

I know from personal experience how hard it can be for the agency to affect decisions about the website; in many cases, the client’s marketing organizations are structured to split ownership of site and campaign decision-making and budgeting. And site development roadmaps are often built with far longer lead times than campaigns. These are gaps best closed by senior client-side marketers. The data is there to justify it – is the will?

Robert Davis is SVP Digital Marketing at PJA advertising + marketing. This post was written with research support from Tessa Sandler.

One Response to “Superbowl 2011 and the missing (mobile) link”

  1. Linnea Corn says:

    For brands it seems "mobile" was more about an assumption to find them in online/mobile communities, Sure, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube logos abound but brands also missed telling anyone to DO something. Where was the CTA? To me, that is the missing (digital) link.

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