Using Super Bowl Advertising As A Platform For Growth

For many brand managers, at a cost of $4.5 million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, the Super Bowl is the largest investment they will ever make in a single execution. Many features of the Super Bowl provide potential justification for the steep valuation placed on Super Bowl advertising. The Super Bowl boasts the largest single reach vehicle for brands, with last year’s viewership achieving over 112 million people. Consumers are also engaged with the advertising; they actively anticipate, watch, and discuss the commercials both during and after the game. For select brands, Super Bowl advertisements have become part of their historic equity, and they are talked about for decades, such as Apple’s “1984” and McDonald’s “Jordan versus Bird.”

But how should brands think about the event from a strategic perspective? How can brands transition from a mere appearance in the Super Bowl to actual growth?

First, a classic use of the Super Bowl has been for the launch of new, or previously unadvertised, product or service. Because of the sheer size of the audience, and their attention to the commercials, the Super Bowl serves as an excellent vehicle for enhancing consumers’ awareness or new products. No other single media vehicle is likely to rival the potential of Super Bowl advertising to reach so many consumers at a single point in time. Indeed, brands like Career Builder, Go Daddy, and SodaStream built massive consumer awareness through their Super Bowl advertisements. Global brands such as Fiat, Maserati and H&M have used the Super Bowl to enter and grow in the U.S. market. For this reason, it is not a surprise to see the Super Bowl to host a number of “rookie” advertisers every year or brand behemoths introducing new products: These brands hope to use the Super Bowl platform to achieve growth by sharing news to over a hundred million consumers.

Second, the Super Bowl can create growth for an existing brand. The sheer size of the audience is attractive, for seasoned veterans with established products, but the reason for this attraction is different. While existing brands might gain top-of-mind awareness by appearing in the Super Bowl, it is also a vehicle to introduce new message to change how people think about an existing brand. The Super Bowl has served as the very platform by which brands such as Chrysler, Google, and Dove change their tone. For example, both Dove and Google used the Super Bowl to place their brands in the emotional space of the mind of the consumer. Thus, when brands have new messages, the Super Bowl can be a platform to disseminate this information quickly, and thus drive growth.

Third, advancements in technology have created a new means by which Super Bowl advertising can enhance growth. Super Bowl media buys can also serve as the initial flame to set fire to online discussion and fandom. A common fallacy is that online executions often go viral without any brand intervention. However, more often than not, online advertisements become viral because of investments in traditional media efforts, such as television. These efforts provide the broad reach that is likely to stir online chatter. In this capacity, the Super Bowl serves to both start and fan the flames of online executions. Brands are becoming increasingly aware of this relationship as more Super Bowl buys are built around a tandem of television and online executions. More and more brands that have advertisements during the Super Bowl also invest in social media and online efforts before, after, and during the game. The days of using the Super Bowl only as a stand-alone mass media effort seem to be waning for most brands. Using the Super Bowl as a platform for growth means brands have to also consider investing in the right social and online strategies.

Read more at : Forbes