Big Exposure Around the Big Game

Big data and social listening can be used to target audiences.

Another Super Bowl is nearly upon us. As Tom Brady, Nick Foles, and their respective teams get ready for what looks to be a promising matchup, organizations across the globe are finalizing their marketing efforts to capitalize on a massive, attentive audience.

The Super Bowl is notorious for its costly commercials. Luckily, you don’t have to shell out millions of dollars – $5 million for a 30-second advertising spot, to be exact – to capitalize on the hype around the game. After all, brands that advertise during the game are spending $166,667 per second of content, leading to a $3.30 price tag per viewer. Though you’ll get a wide audience during the Super Bowl, brands can make smarter, less expensive choices by tailoring their content to audiences leading up to the game.

We’re no strangers to analyzing data for our customers, using our expertise in the cloud to dissect trends and opportunities. Smart marketing around the Super Bowl does the same thing, as there are plenty of ways to reach your audiences effectively. Here are a few creative brands maximizing their exposure around the big game:

Creatively avoid these “banned” words

Because of the NFL’s trademark rules, unless you’re an official sponsor of the game, you can’t actually use the phrases “Super Bowl” or “Super Sunday” in any kind of marketing. There are even some rules around using team names, so it’s best to get creative with your advertising. Stephen Colbert suggested calling it the “Superb Owl,” which is certainly one route.

In another instance, this Newcastle spot from a few years ago is viciously clever without ever saying the words “Super Bowl.” It deems itself the “Mega Huge Football Game Ad” the company “almost made,” but didn’t because it was too expensive to become an official sponsor. Instead, Newcastle featured a guest spot from Anna Kendrick talking about how amazing this commercial would have been if it had actually come together. It was a smart, funny way to advertise without breaking the bank.

Embrace the power of your audience

Even people who aren’t sports fans have an interest in the Super Bowl. Sure, they may pay more attention to commercials or are only excited about the halftime show, but they’re still an engaged audience. With that in mind, you can target efforts around events your customers will be watching.

Running polls on what the first score of the game will be, or what Justin Timberlake will sing to kick off his halftime performance — my guess is “Can’t Stop the Feeling” — is an easy way to capitalize on the buzz of the big game. You can look at what your customers are mentioning in the days leading up to the game, then tailor content to match what your social listening data tells you.

In fact, releasing ads or teaser ads before the game is a great idea in general – the average person watches 14 commercials online before the game. These examples are from official Super Bowl sponsors, but last year, Snickers saw a 2,669 percent increase in search volume after releasing Super Bowl ad content before game day. Budweiser saw a 650 percent uptick, and Mr. Clean drew 313 percent more interest. Knowing that fans are searching more about the game in the days leading up to it can be used advantageously by smart brands.

Some companies even source their content directly from their customers. For a decade, Doritos ran its “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, encouraging filmmakers to submit their ads for a shot at winning a grand prize, usually a combination of money, gear, exposure and Doritos. The company made a minimal investment, yet received more than 4,900 entries in 2016. That’s a ton of content living on the Internet for people to find in perpetuity, and a fantastic way to take advantage of the hype the Super Bowl generates.

Taking advantage of in-game and post-game moments

Sometimes there’s a thrilling moment that gets talked about more than the game itself. Who can forget the blackout from Super Bowl SLVII? Or more specifically, Oreo’s incredible quick thinking response?

This is a prime example of maximizing a moment. Everyone was talking about the power outage in the Superdome, and Oreo jumped on it. Social listening has become an important part of any major sporting event — users are tweeting and posting their thoughts as the game is going on. Their eyes are already on their phones; businesses just needs to be ready to engage with them.

And would you believe there’s even more social chatter on the Monday after the game? Keep an eye on what’s being discussed during the game — smart organizations take these insights and create uniquely tailored content to maximize reach to their customers. We’re big believers of social listening here at Rackspace. Social media has become a mandatory way to communicate and determine what your customers need. By analyzing social data, enterprises can see if a certain issue or trend keeps popping up, and then work to find solutions.

There are plenty of opportunities out there to use the data you have on your audience — as well as potential new audiences — to create compelling content around major events like the Super Bowl. Maximizing that potential is just as sweet as a game-winning touchdown. It just doesn’t include a trip to Disney World.

Rich Dolan serves as Senior Director of Rackspace Corporate Marketing, which includes analyst relations, public and media relations, blog, customer reference, social marketing, brand and content management. Previously Senior Vice President of Marketing for Datapipe, Rich made the move to Rackspace after it acquired Datapipe in late 2017. Rich spent 16 years at Datapipe, developing and driving its world class marketing team as the company grew into one of the leading global managed service providers, from the early days as a start up to a global enterprise player. He built and oversaw digital marketing and demand generation, event management, content management, internal communications, brand management, partner marketing and web properties. Rich managed the consolidation of marketing resources from five acquisitions, and led Datapipe to thirteen Gartner Magic Quadrant recognitions across the globe, including four placements in the Leaders quadrant. Before Datapipe, Rich spent four years with web design firm RareMedium, where he designed and architected web presences and client facing applications for Madison Square Garden, JP Morgan, Atlantis, XM Radio and Credit Suisse First Boston. Rich graduated summa cum laude from the New York Institute of Technology with a BA in computer graphics. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.