Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Blog About Super Bowl Commercials: Mobile Versus Social

Are you sick of hearing reviews and trends about Super Bowl commercials yet? Apparently not, because you're here, reading this blog even after you checked out the title. I felt it was time to add my two cents. Prior to the the big event, I had my own thoughts about mobile's play in the Super Bowl. I agreed with experts who said it would be a huge factor, and that brands would use TV commercials to drive awareness of both their mobile and social campaigns. I thought we'd see some "Download the App," or "Visit our website" to view more. I didn't see that. I saw a few short messages to send texts and even fewer QR codes. I thought these would have a bigger play, even though I wasn't sure how effective they would be. Don't get me wrong - as I stated in my last post, I think QR codes can be very effective. But maybe not so much during commercials. Consumers have approximately 30 seconds to reach for their smartphone, find the scanning app - likely one out of many apps - open the app and then scan the code. The timing just might not be ideal.

What we did see this year, however, was a lot of brands driving awareness of their social channels, often with the use of hashtags. Audi cleverly played on the hot topic of vampires to engage consumers. The commercial was alright to start, but not my favorite - and that's coming from a reluctantly self-proclaimed Twilight fan. But what drove it home for me and made me laugh was the ending, driving the message home with the hashtag, #SoLongVampires. It's quick, witty, relevant and most importantly, easy to remember. That's the key for using hashtags.

If mobile and social were in a fight over who would get more attention from brands this Super Bowl, I'd say social beat mobile out. In my opinion, the reason is that brands had to outwardly choose to promote one or the other. It's clear that brands see social as a bigger priority to mobile right now, though I don't see that being the case next year. Though these brands outwardly promoted social channels, the majority of these consumers likely accessed these social brands via their mobile devices - since they likely didn't race to a desktop to Tweet about cars and vampires.

Brands need to stop thinking about mobile or social, and combine the two. Of course, we're seeing this in different industries, but often times there's a larger focus on social. Here's what needs to happen - brands need to think about how consumers access their brands (mobile, desktop) just as much as they think about where consumers access the brands (Website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Integrating them will be key, of course, but don't leave mobile in the dark. Mobile creates an opportunity for brands that we've never had before - the ability to deliver timely, relevant messages. Next Super Bowl, I'd like to see two things, and I think we will see at least one of them:

1. Better integration of mobile and social campaigns.
2. The Patriots defense learning how to block and tackle, leading to a Patriots championship. Did I mention I'm based in Boston and a die-hard Pats fan?

Next Super Bowl and throughout the year, there needs to be better integration with mobile and social channels. There shouldn't be two separate campaigns for brands - one for mobile and one for social. Today's average consumer isn't choosing one of the other, so why should brands? That's my PR thought for the day.


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