The Super Bowl may be the one time of year viewers are as eager to watch the commercials as they are the show…well, at least the halftime show. As always, we marketers tuned in to weigh in on how this year’s pack of advertisers managed the most expensive real estate on television. During the 2012 Super Bowl, advertisers delighted with many of its usual ploys (celebrities, endorsements and sex appeal), as with H&M’s provocative ad featuring David Beckham. There were also rave-winning new concepts, such as the Honda’s rendition of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“. But while campaigns may win applause for recruiting the biggest celebrities or most daring scripts, which brands merely flashed their cash, and which truly engaged customers?
The winners, we found, reflected a thorough understanding of multi-channel marketing, and elongated the customer experience by tying their TV campaigns to other channels. This fully leveraged their massive investments not just by pairing the ads with lower-cost vehicles, but by allowing customers to actively experience the brand rather than just viewing it. You may have noticed that the most engaging ads weren’t the most “salesy”; these brands were more focused on crafting a residual customer experience than making an immediate sale. The following champs not only made the list of viewer favorites, they got viewers talking, tweeting, Facebooking, and otherwise immersed with the brands:
1. Bud Light – What better way to manage your corporate social responsibility strategy than to make a cute little rescued dog the face of your brand? Bud Light won high marks with multiple creative commercials during the 2012 Super Bowl, but the clear winner features Weego, a rescued mutt that clearly knows how to party. Dedicated to ensuring each of his guests is welcomed with a cold beer, Weego’s star power entertains while hitting a soft spot in viewers’ hearts. At the end of the commercial, Weego has undoubtedly won over most of America, the commercial reads, “Help Rescue Dogs”, along with a link to Bud Light’s Facebook page. Creating a seamless experience, Bud Light’s default Facebook image now showcases a classic Bud Light bottle, with Weego’s personalized dog collar looped around its neck. Visitors can find more video and images of Weego, as well as a custom app for a charitable campaign where Bud Light will donate $1 to the Animal Rescue Foundation for every “Like” Weego gets.
All in all, this Super Bowl campaign forms a model customer engagement experience: it captures and entertains viewers with a lovable and memorable icon (Weego, of course). It invites viewers to an extended engagement opportunity by connecting to a perfectly synchronized Facebook page. And while still scoring something for itself by requiring users to “Like” the main brand page page in order to “Like” Weego, Bud Light gives something back to the users, too-something they can feel good about (After all, they just earned needy animals a donation just by clicking on a button). And this doesn’t even take social virality into account-a Facebook user’s actions will show up in their friends’ feeds, too. Bud Light now has the opportunity to create a long-term if not lifelong customer experience with the thousands of Facebook subscribers it gained within mere hours of the Super Bowl.
2. Pepsi Max – Soft beverage giant Pepsico pushed its brand hard during the 2012 Super bowl, and while its Pepsi ad featuring such icons as Elton John and X-Factor’s Melanie Amaro generated plenty of buzz, it was the Pepsi Max commercial that really won high points with viewers and critics alike. The commercial draws a few chuckles as it depicts a disloyal Coke employee stealthily purchasing a Pepsi Max, as Patsy Cline’s “Your Cheatin’ Heart” plays in the background. Just when he thinks he’s in the clear, the register goes wild and none other but Regis Philbin appears to hand over a larger-than-life check, awarding the woeful shopper with Pepsi Max for life. But beyond the originality, humor, and effective use of a celebrity persona, Pepsi Max scores big in customer engagement by ending the commercial with a link to its Facebook page. Here, Pepsi Max is featuring a “Win Pepsi Max for Life” campaign of their own, allowing visitors to submit video entries to win. Original, consistent, and engaging– we like it.
3. Godaddy is no newcomer to integrating marketing channels to shape a unique customer experience. Its long-held television-to-web strategy has featured plenty of star power and provoking ads, always ending with, “See more at GoDaddy.com”. But this year, Godaddy went a step further, becoming the first to air a Super Bowl ad containing a QR code. And, according to a press release published by the company, the questionable move reaped huge awards, driving record traffic to Godaddy’s mobile site. “We decided it was worth the risk to play to all the people watching the game and using their smartphones simultaneously,” said Go Daddy Executive Chairman and Founder Bob Parsons. “I’m thrilled we made the decision. Viewers scanned the code and as a result, Go Daddy set an all-time sales record for our mobile site.”