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Super Bowl’s Real-Time Marketing Experiences That Won Us Over

It’s been less than 48 hours since the Seattle Seahawks obliterated the Denver Broncos on the field at Super Bowl XLVIII this past Sunday. While players’ egos may have settled down and the loss feels less painful, the marketing and advertising euphoria is still running hot across the digital and social spheres. As fun as it is to watch the plethora of Super Bowl ads with a super analytical eye and separate the good from the bad and the ugly, we get greater pleasure from seeing which brands went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the digital experiences Super Bowl viewers had with their brand were engaging and relevant during and after the excitement of the Super Bowl fades.

In today’s digital era, it’s now the norm for people to spend significantly more time interacting with brands on their digital devices than they do sitting in front of their TV sets. And when they are watching traditional TV, they’re often simultaneously using their smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers. In fact, a recent eMarketer study found that the average time spent by U.S. adults per day using a mobile device in a non-voice capacity was 2 hours and 21 minutes in 2013, up from 24 minutes in 2010. The study also counted simultaneous media use – scanning Twitter while watching a football game, for instance – as time spent both with a TV set and a digital device. Clearly, the notion of ‘tv watching’ isn’t what it once was and that was further evidenced by the massive digital investment most brands made at this year’s Super Bowl.

As Ad Age reported, advertising competition was especially tight and crowded in the packaged goods and beverages categories with a total of 12 brands vying for consumers’ attention and 19 ads airing during the Sunday game. It’s only fitting that we share two of our favorite brand advertisers from those categories that excelled in extending their Super Bowl ROI beyond high-priced TV commercials to create seamless, entertaining, relevant and engaging experiences across every channel and every device.

#1: It’s Puppy Love, By Budweiser

Who doesn’t love puppies? They’re cute and cuddly; they follow you around; they’re the best listeners and are always there to lift your spirits. Well, Budweiser sure counted on these sentiments to ring true for Super Bowl fans on Sunday. And when the pull-at-your-heart-strings commercial ended, the experience with the brand didn’t end there. It was just as easy-to-use and navigate through their desktop website to not just view the Super Bowl ads, but also to read behind-the-scenes insights on their blog. And when you typed www.budweiser.com on your mobile device, it was an equally engaging experience. Watching the sentimental ‘Puppy Love’ ad on my smartphone was seamless – it immediately loaded without any delays or errors. And when I decided to switch the viewing mode from vertical to horizontal (to give the video that landscape feeling), the video automatically adapted to my iPhone 5’s features and functionalities.

And for the many Super Bowl party hosts who found themselves fresh out of their Budweiser Black Crown supply, you could easily walk down the street with your smartphone or tablet in-hand and look up the nearest stores that carry their beverages. Because I’m a skeptic at heart, I put Budweiser’s mobile experience to the test on Sunday. When I did so, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it took less than one second for Budweiser’s mobile site to discover and present over 25 physical stores within walking distance of my apartment. To me, Budweiser epitomizes the type of brand that gets the value of omnichannel experiences. While there’s no doubt that one-hit-wonder digital experiences on a big day like Super Bowl can be ‘cool,’ focusing on one single day will make those traffic and sales surge “wins” feel fleeting. The test of a true omnichannel brand is one that integrates digital to build meaningful, lasting and relevant relationships with every visitor and customer segment. Job well done on mastering the real-time marketing experience, Budweiser, job well done.

#2: ‘Full House’ Reunion, By Dannon Oikos Yogurt

For most of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, ‘Full House’ is a television show etched into pop culture and one that we still cherish. Who doesn’t love Uncle Jessie’s philandering ways? What about Joey’s ability to find humor in everything? And let’s not forget Danny’s sensible ways. In my opinion, Dannon Oikos struck digital gold with their play on sentimentality and spoof of pop culture. Lexie Leyman, communications and community affairs associate for The Dannon Company, put it simply. “This is meant to be a very entertaining spot. Our community will be able to laugh, have fun, and engage in a way that has not traditionally been focused on for better-for-you snacks.”

As cool as it was to see this trio reunite for the Super Bowl, I tip my hat off to the brand for making every digital experience – online, mobile, social – easy-to-use and navigate, entertaining, personal and intuitive. Even more than that, the brand added multiple layers to their experiences. For one, a foodie like me found it really useful, amusing and relevant to discover “crowd-friendly recipes” on the Oikos product page when I visited their website from my desktop computer. What I found were landing pages packed with bold, colorful images of better-for-you recipes that will also please the Super Bowl party crowds, special tips from celebrity chefs like Chef Michael Symon, Top 5 Swaps (to give crowd pleasers a healthy twist) and so much more. And not once did I find myself confused or frustrated with the site and page flow. Best of all, I didn’t have to spend an excessive amount of time navigating through the site and landing pages. Minimal clicks, optimized site flow and targeted messaging were all there for me to enjoy.

Looking ahead to Super Bowl 2015

With 363 days left until next year’s Super Bowl frenzy, I’m sure most brands across every category have already begun to outline the framework and success metrics for their marketing campaigns. One thing is for sure – those brands that integrate their marketing across all channels – from print to direct mail to TV to radio to online to mobile to social – will be the ones that see massive engagement and revenue growth long-term, regardless of major events like the Super Bowl or peak shopping seasons.

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