Wireless

Should Super Bowl Telecast Brands Get A Pass On Missing Out On Mobile?

Posted by Jeff Hasen on February 10th, 2013 at 11:26 am

I’m guessing that I need professional help given the fact that I’m having more difficulty getting over the Super Bowl than San Francisco 49ers coach and celebrated crybaby Jim Harbaugh.

A week after the blackout that marred the game in New Orleans, I’m still in the dark as to why mobile calls to action were as infrequent in the $4 million ads as Harbaugh complementing a referee for a good call.

I previously wrote that I would say Hallelujah if a brand finally used the forum to create meaningful second screen action that would lead to an opt-in monetizable database.

Instead, I’m left to say WTF.

Through cleaner language and on a panel sponsored by AAF Seattle and PSAMA, I since have had the opportunity to ask a Who’s Who in the Seattle advertising community why the Super Bowl telecast had a 1983 feel to me.

Appearing were:

  • Chris Elliott, executive creative director at Wunderman.
  • Frank Clark, owner and creative director of Square Tomato advertising
  • Paul Huggett, design director at Tether
  • Mike Hayward, creative director at Copacino+Fujikado

Theories as to why mobile wasn’t inserted into ads ranged from a desire to not interrupt the viewing of the game and next spot by asking someone to use a wireless device, to the risks involved in doing something new, to the storytelling that would be adversely affected by an intrusive call to action.

These dudes are the smartest of the lot, but I want to respectfully challenge the theories:

  • It’s illogical to believe that devices weren’t in hand and being used throughout the game by tens and tens of millions of viewers. Rather than having them reach for a phone, a call to action would capitalize on the activity already underway
  • Risk taking is often the very reason why advertisers spend so lavishly on Super Bowl spots. Differentiation via the first real mobile call to action in telecast history would fit that mold. And as long as the backend is bulletproof – an example being American Idol ably handling mobile voting – the risk is minimal
  • Storytelling and interaction by viewers are ideally suited for each other. Ram’s “God Made A Farmer” spot was arguably the best of the day. The salute to hard workers touched us all. Beyond that, likely many viewers had their own hard working dad, mother, teacher, or other who they would’ve loved to commend with the communications device within reach. How about a contest triggered by mobile that identified these heroes and perhaps had a charitable component to boot?

Among the missed opportunities:

Pizza Hut lost out on the chance for more dough by failing to set up a name capture as part of its free product giveaway on Tuesday.

Denny’s made the same mistake in the 2010 Super Bowl telecast when it gave away Grand Slam breakfasts, but had no way to reach out later to invite customers in for more business of the paying variety.

In contrast, consider how Arby’s introduced its Roastburger sandwich.

For the launch, Arby’s had Jimmy Kimmel create, eat and promote the product on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Viewers were urged to text the word ROASTBURGER to a short code to receive a free sandwich with the purchase of any drink.

After texting, customers were asked to respond with their zip code to be entered into a local database and receive additional offers from Arby’s. By doing this, the restaurant gained a valuable re-marketable database.

As a result of the one segment, Arby’s received 177,745 total entries from 152,280 unique participants; 65,000 people opted-in to join the mobile loyalty club; and the restaurant created 172 local databases to cater to the opted-in customers on a hyper-local level.

By now, Pizza Hut’s customers have come and gone, much like the chances the brands had that they muffed.

Next year will be different, right – the panelists predicted more digital real-time interaction given Oreo’s success during the blackout? As to planned mobile calls to action, I’ll pass on making that prediction.

Leave a comment