In the X’s and O’s game of Super Bowl advertising, marketers have consistently taken a pass on mobile.
Sure, we’ve seen spots with Shazam calls to action and others that have asked viewers to download a mobile app, but I can’t point to one meaningful attempt to engage tens of millions or more after the Big Game is done.
The missed opportunities have been many, including this one that goes back seven years:
Some, probably many, may have had too good a time to remember, but a great deal of us among the 95 million who watched the Super Bowl in February 2009 remember the television spots run by restaurant chain Denny’s to promote free Grand Slam breakfasts. The campaign’s elements were easy to follow—all viewers needed to do was to go to a Denny’s the following Tuesday for free eggs along with toast with hash browns or grits.
Denny’s reported that approximately 2 million took advantage of the offer. Although many might view that as a success, Denny’s was left with egg on its face when quick service restaurant Arby’s did it one better two months later by building in a way to remarket to patrons through a high-profile, national television campaign.
Here’s how it worked:
To start out, for the launch of its Roastburger product, Arby’s had comedian/entertainer Jimmy Kimmel create, eat, and promote the new sandwich on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a late-night nationally broadcast TV program airing on ABC.
Viewers were urged to text the word Roastburger to short code 27297 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 to receive additional offers from Arby’s. By doing this, the restaurant gained a valuable remarketable database.
As a result of the one segment:
- Arby’s received 177,745 total entries from 152,280 unique participants
- Approximately 65,000 people opted in to join the mobile loyalty club
- The restaurant created 172 local databases to cater to the opted-in customers on a hyperlocal level
Two years ago, I asked Sean Bartlett, then director of mobile strategy and platforms at Lowe's, for some perspective on the lack of mobile calls to action on Super Bowl telecasts.
“I'm going with preserving creative integrity,” Bartlett, now Worldwide Industry Lead for Retail at Apple, told me.
But can we not have “creative integrity” that includes a mobile call to action?
“Yes, though most are brand anthems, not direct response,” he said.
Last year, on a scale of 1-100, the risk that the Seattle Seahawks took at the end of Super Bowl XLIX by throwing instead of giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the 1 sat at 379. And we know how that turned out (the New England Patriots intercepted a pass and won the championship).
On the same scale, on the risk that the telecast advertisers chose when it comes to mobilizing their marketing messages, the number rested squarely at 0.
My belief is that with the right trigger, a Super Bowl spot lives on well beyond the stench of putrid play-calling and uneaten nachos.
It is not hard to imagine some of that from many of the commercials.
What if last year in the last seconds of an ad that was instantly beloved, Budweiser urged touched viewers to save a dog and provided a keyword and short code to be contacted after the game? Do you not think the emotional string pulled would have resulted in pet adoptions?
To me, it gets back to the question of risk.
Just what would advertisers lose if they took the last three seconds of a commercial to add a call to action for viewers to use their phones? What is the worst that could happen? No one would respond.
Will the Super Bowl 50 telecast mark a mobile milestone? On a day when more money will be wagered than any other in 2016, I’m not betting on it.
(article first appeared on imediaconnection.com - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2016/01/31/will-super-bowl-advertisers-take-another-pass-on-mobile/)