Social Strategy in the Super Bowl Ad Trenches: The Zen of Accepting That You Can’t Force a Moment








Helping execute a Super Bowl ad campaign is, of course, on the bucket list of many advertising professionals, and I count myself lucky to have touched the campaigns I have in my career. The reality, though, is that the Super Bowl bar continues to rise in terms of brands creating a multifaceted experience. No marketer has the luxury of stopping with a Super Bowl ad anymore. With the over four-million-dollar cost of entry, the responsibility is real to craft innovative consumer engagement opportunities (e.g., contest, call to action) to complement the game day spot investment. Clever, headline-grabbing, real-time content and organic social participation featuring lots of positive buzz about the ad are also musts.

What’s a social strategist to do?

First and foremost: You plan for what you can control, which is where a game day command center comes in. Your command center should be staffed with a wide variety of experts who can execute and make decisions quickly: you, the client, account leads, PR, media, legal and some writers. And a few wild cards—people with strategic minds come from any niche in your org chart. You have a line open to Twitter. It goes without saying that you have piles of energy drinks, snacks and big screens to monitor and adapt to the action unfolding.

But before you cross the threshold of any command room, be it for the Super Bowl, World Cup or Oscars, you have to face one critical issue—and that is simply the unknown. A lot has been written about real-time marketing for big, high-profile events. But as much as you may try to prep materials beforehand, there is the reality that such content can often fall flat due to an evident lack of spontaneity. So you must go into the day somewhat blind but open to the moment to make connections with customers as organically and authentically as you can as the events of the day unfold—just the same as the players and other attendees who have no idea how the day will go either. That is the ultimate task in the trenches of events. So take a breath…and embrace the unknown.


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