Super Bowl 51 drives fan engagement through the roof

American Football’s super bowl is the pinnacle of the sporting calendar, where the season’s two greatest teams compete for the coveted super bowl champions’ title. And Super Bowl 51, played in Houston, Texas, was an intense and engrossing game like no other – or so I’m told, as I didn’t actually watch it myself. Nor have I ever seen or felt compelled to watch an American football match. For a marketer like me, it’s all about the commercials and how fans react during the breaks.

Super bowl ad: then and now

Until the last couple of years the adverts during the super bowl breaks would be reserved for the show. Nowadays though, more and more companies are releasing sneak peaks of their content in the days leading up to the super bowl. This is a good tactic for engaging with consumers ahead of the main event and to get fans talking about their brands. The geniuses behind Snickers chocolate bars even went as far as to tease their super bowl ad, to get everyone talking about how they were going to pull off the world’s first live super bowl advert with Adam Driver in the weeks leading up to the event. It was a success too, mimicking an ad that goes wrong in a western setting.

Advertisers can pay as much as $5 million for a 30 second commercial spot during the super bowl, and that’s on top of their vast production budgets. Everyone from Wix to Mercedes went all out, with high-flying casts and cameo appearances. Their post-production could have been a little easier on the purse strings though, if they were using a cloud-based editing platform like Forscene. These brands clearly shot high volumes of video content for these short and snappy ads, which are becoming increasingly like mini action movies. Imagine being able to cut down on post time for putting an advert together, meaning you can make more timely and socially reactive commercials.

Super (bowl) fan engagement

Moreover, many brands decided to use their super bowl ad spot to take on a political message, or so it has been interpreted. Budweiser and 84 Lumber took on the immigrant theme, seeing their protagonists take on long journeys to America. Both these commercials were released ahead of the super bowl itself and had viewers and critics alike discussing their brands across social media. This demonstrates the power of video and how fan engagement should be top of your brand’s strategy.

The super bowl is NFL’s sporting highlight and the most watched television show in the US. 2016’s Super Bowl 50 pulled in a record 112 million viewers. Compare that to Donald Trump’s inauguration, which only managed to draw 31 million viewers. For the fans of super bowl, Twitter appeared to be the most used platform, as they tweeted their astonished and anguished reactions to the game. As we’ve already stated, video is the most powerful medium, so brands should encourage their fans to interact through user generated content. Get them to share their favourite moments or record themselves discussing game highlights with their mates. UGC can become a valuable asset for brands to utilise and could even be used to create 2018’s super bowl ad!

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Amy Creeden

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