I don't want to sound preachy, but if the Super Bowl telecast includes meaningful mobile calls to action for the first time, I will sing out Hallelujah.
More than that, I will respond to the marketer’s ask for me to take out my phone or tablet – ok, one will be in each hand, so taking out will be unnecessary – and I'll participate. I’ll learn more about a new product, be entertained by a brand beyond what was possible in a 30-second commercial, and even text to win.
So will millions or perhaps tens of millions of others.
Marketers buy into the Super Bowl telecast because it is the one time of the year when consumers are actually tuning in to commercials instead of muting the volume or fast-forwarding on their DVR.
Here’s an old school recipe for success:
One part new product or service offering upgrade
A tear-inducing script (Tears can be a result of hilarity or a message that pulls at the heartstrings.)
One teaspoon of a timely message (Think Valentine’s Day and/or tax season)
A cute animal or hot celebrity – or in some cases, both
A tease in the media
Yet, mobile calls to action have been missing this day of 24/7 social, mobile consumers.
Why is this an opportunity missed?
It takes that near-perfect, talked-about-for-days ad and extends its value. By including, for instance, an SMS call to action and engaging with consumers, companies can ultimately build remarketable databases that tie directly to their loyalty programs and enable ongoing communication.
Last year, Super Bowl advertisers relied on simple URLs, some of which weren’t even mobile-specific. Other ads directed consumers to social media prompts via a plethora of hashtags (Audi’s #SoLongVampires, Bud Light’s #MakeItPlatinum, H&M’s #BeckhamForHim, etc.).
Hashtags are catchy and make people want to join in on the trending. They create a following, for a short time at least. But they are hard to track and measure for true value. Instead of (or in addition to) a hashtag, why didn’t they include an SMS option for viewers to receive more information? Doing so also creates a sense of exclusivity, and allows consumers to be part of a special network of people who receive deals, coupons and other special treatments that promote customer loyalty, repeat shopping and increased purchase value.
Here are five ads that could have been improved with a simple mobile call to action:
1. GoDaddy. The brand teased viewers that its “NSFTV” ads were available online if they scanned a QR code. They could have used an SMS in addition to a QR code (which is sometimes hard for viewers to see, much less get them to fire up their scanner and capture the code onscreen before it disappears) to “see more now” that would have brought users to the coveted “Too Hot For TV Internet Only” versions. By offering multiple means of engagement, GoDaddy could have increased its reach.
2. Teleflora. This ad was racy and tied in with the upcoming “holiday of love.” Perfect timing, of course. However, it could have used a text campaign for a Valentine’s Day coupon instead of just posting teleflora.com and trusting that consumers will travel there on their own without an incentive. An initiative like this could have led to Teleflora building an opt-in list of people who like to give flowers to their loved ones and would probably do so again on their birthday or anniversary.
3. Coca-Cola and Audi. Both brands had multiple spots but did not set up the next ad. For instance, they could have created some type of scavenger hunt or delivered a message, such as, “prepare to use Shazam next time you see Coke,” to tie-in the experience across ads.
4. Best Buy. This ad was entirely about mobile innovation, yet had no mobile innovation of its own. It did not embrace the very technologies that it was commending. There was a real missed opportunity to expand on each of the founders’ stories for more consumer inclusion and engagement.
5. The movie clips (Transformers, The Avengers, John Carter, etc.). These movies were built up as the blockbusters for 2012, yet there was no incentive to check them out beyond the digital effects and big-name celebrity rosters. Think of the perks for both brands and consumers if they had incorporated a mobile campaign to see “Sneak Peaks” or an opportunity to win tickets, all while building a database of future prospects.
Will this year end with a Hallelujah? Or will it be another sermon about opportunity lost? We shall see.