3 big trends to kick off at this year's Super Bowl

Posted by Deborah Hanamura on January 30th, 2014 at 3:29 pm

The Super Bowl is usually about two things: football and ads. This year, there are several new big trends that we expect to see "kick off" during the game that can impact marketing for a long time to come.

  1. The Rise of the Second Device

Consumers are augmenting their television watching experience by following social content, contests, and supplementary content online. This is widely known as ‘synchronous viewing,’ with the TV considered the first screen, and smart phones, tablets, and laptops holding the second spot. Synchronous viewing has seen an inevitable rise, and TV’s fall from first to second spot is just as inevitable.

“Second Screen enhances the viewing experience by building social currency among viewers; making viewers feel special; bringing about a deeper experience with the primary content; creating a shared viewing experience and sense of community among fans; and maintaining a show’s relevance by offering viewers a platform to continue to interact and talk about the program, even when it’s not on air, ” according to a recent panel at the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) by The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA),

A study recently released by NATPE and CEA, focused on consumers and found 91 percent of second-screen viewers access asynchronous program content, and 42 percent have tried synchronizing their content experience to live TV. While 42 percent is still a minority of viewers, we can only expect that number to rise.

Will the Super Bowl be the first big televised event to play to this shift?

The Super Bowl is just as much about the advertisements as it is about the football, and we are already seeing significant web-based extensions of the Super Bowl ads, often with real-time online strategies. Whether it’s the H&M crowd-sourcing the how much of David Beckham’s body we see, or Doritos playing runner up advertisements, the advertisers are already extending the experience online. The real test will be the online experience around the actual game.

Social commentary on the plays, ref calls, and unscripted events plays out particularly well on Twitter, and is closely followed by user generated content in the form of memes, vines, reaction videos, and more. This may be the first year that the action on the field is overshadowed by more than the ads – it may be overshadowed by social engagement.

  1. The Rise of Adaptive Marketing

While marketers have used data to tailor campaigns for years, the new era of Big Data has enabled marketers to further customize campaigns in real time – this is known as adaptive marketing.

Adaptive marketing allows brands to use a flexible framework for an ad or marketing campaign, and then refine and modify their messages stemming from consumer reaction to the campaign or other events.

The Super Bowl provides a prime opportunity for brands of any size to use consumer behavior data to create highly targeted and relevant ads, bolstered by social media.

Jeff Curry, brand vice president, Jaguar North America claims the automaker will be “the most real-time engaged advertiser” during the Super Bowl this year.  The adaptive marketing strategy is collaborative, including multiple experts from Facebook, Google+, and others with Jaguar’s creative team of writers, digital teams, and marketing teams.

Midsize businesses can mirror big brands such as Jaguar, on a smaller scale.   Efforts can begin with tracking trending topics on game day, and watching the game with a nearby laptop or smartphone. Well-prepared marketers will be ready to be playful with big moments, have some basic graphic design tools at the ready, and assign the task to team members who have a strong understanding of your brand’s core values and attributes.

  1. The Rise of Body Temperatures

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks can expect rain, snow, and temperatures in the mid-thirties this Sunday. In what may be slightly masochistic anticipation of the extreme weather, Fox will display player biota - body temperatures captured by a single FLIR infrared camera - for the pleasure of their TV audience. Further, Fox is using Fox Weather TRAX to show detailed wind swirls in every part of the stadium.

The player temps will be represented in red for warm and blue for cold, so fans can watch players gradually change from blue to red as the game goes on. We may even be able to infer which team is working harder, based on how red-hot they are.

But will viewers care? And what does this mean for the future of entertainment?

Anything that can add context to the dynamics on the field will appeal to certain fans. Whether body temperatures and wind swirls are the most relevant data points to bring to home viewing audiences remains to be seen. I’m dubious that the FLIR cameras and wind swirls are going to do anything to drown out the excitement about the Super Bowl ads.

What IS important here is that technology is being used in increasingly intricate ways to add deeper context to televised events. This is a first highly publicized attempt at using biodata during a sporting event, but it may harken back to a time when we can watch athlete vitals throughout an Olympic trial, or (god help us) contestants on the next Bachelor as they vie for a rose. Consumers have demonstrated an eagerness to add layers of context to their entertainment, and wind swirls won’t be the last we see of this trend.

Technology and live events are converging in new and exciting ways every day. The Super Bowl is a high profile opportunity to use these technical advancements to garner brand attention, while also testing the waters for some technical integrations that may eventually be commonplace and expected by consumers.

What trends did we miss? How will technology fit into your viewing experience?

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