The #brandbowl

The Super Bowl. The one day of the year we don’t set our DVRs. Instead of fast-forwarding through the commercials, we’re glued to the TV to capture every second. We pay a lot of attention to the major players on the big screen, but now so much of Super Bowl engagement is occurring on much smaller screens: laptops, tablets and smartphones, where people are active across their social platforms.

These three brands won at social around the big game:

HostGator

GoDaddy released their Super Bowl ad in the morning on January 27th, featuring a lost puppy who finds his way home to realize he’s being sold online. Animal rights activists took to Facebook and Twitter to complain. Most puppy mill dogs are sold online. The ad was intended to mock the Budweiser #bestbuds ad, but had a very different effect. Due to the negative backlash, GoDaddy pulled the ad by 6:30pm ET the same day. HostGator, a GoDaddy competitor, immediately created and sponsored a “Puppy Love” Tweet and coupon code announcing they would be donating a portion of their profits to a local Austin Animal Rights organization. If any animal lover was considering a web-hosting provider, HostGator won their business. This is an example of smart real-time social marketing done right.

HostGator Tweet

 

Monster

Monster brilliantly used a Twitter photo size feature to create a post that went live right after the Super Bowl. The Tweet read “Congratulations Seattle from Monster.com! #biggame” and the photo also featured a congratulations message in the image. If you click to view the full-sized image, you see a Monster search for a Social Media Manager position. This was smart for a few reasons. First, it makes fun of brands who have famously messed up on social media. Second, it immediately catches your attention (everybody watching on TV or on social would know the Patriots won the game. Third, they were able to prepare ahead of time by likely having two versions approved and ready to go. Lastly, it has a direct connection to their service (while many Super Bowl commercials are memorable, consumers don’t connect the brand or product affiliated with the ads).

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McDonald’s

While the McDonald’s Super Bowl spot received mixed reviews, the brand recovered and won on social. McDonald’s Tweeted a giveaway tied to every product advertised during the Big Game. This was easy for brands who released Super Bowl commercials ahead of time, but more difficult for brands who didn’t, and involved a large real-time social media effort from the McDonald’s team. People entered by simply Re-Tweeting the McDonald’s tweet, generating engagement awareness for the program. Giveaways ranged from a $1,000 Victoria’s Secret gift card to designer sandals and a pedi tied to the infamous Jublia toenail fungus ad. The giveaways allowed McDonald’s to surprise their fans and engage real-time throughout the entire game.

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Test Drive for McDonald’s Happy Table

Venturing into new territory, a McDonald’s in Yishun, Singapore is testing driving a new form of in-store entertainment with the Happy Table. With the help of NFC (near field communication) stickers placed on the underside of the table, DDB Group Singapore is bringing a new playing field for games to the restaurant.

As shown in the video, people, in this case children, can use smartphones to communicate with the NFC stickers to play games across the table. A whole new world of gaming becomes easily accessible and unveils another excuse for families to linger a little longer in the restaurant, maybe to grab one more drink while they’re hanging out. And while I’d like to think such a game might allow for more peace at the table, I can’t help but wonder how this pans out when the number of children outnumbers the number of smartphones available in Mom’s purse. But I digress.

The simplicity of this technology, from the installation of simple stickers to the basic methods of playing the games, make the Happy Table seem like a no-brainer. Once this pilot program at the single location ends, rollout plans are in the works to spread to more McDonald’s across Asia. How long with it take for the Happy Table to cross the pond to the states? No dates confirmed as of yet.

NFC has not hit mainstream USA, though with every new iPhone or latest mobile phone release, people anxiously await for NFC capabilities to be incorporated. However, it’s easy to see that NFC is drawing closer and closer on the horizon. An NFC-driven concept like the Happy Table could easily be translated into any number of ways. Perhaps, Barnes & Noble could incorporate NFC to its play tables at story time or Starbucks could implement simple games into its tables, with varying games that could appeal to children or to the procrastinating college student taking a study break.

Along those lines, why not have these NFC stickers strategically-placed by the sitting areas in malls, near chairs/tables placed for resting in retailers, or at the beverage station in a convenience store etc, all with the purpose of quick games to increase engagement with their surroundings, when people might otherwise disengage into Facebook posts or their own games or texting their friends. Because at the end of the day, it’s the engagement that will keep your store/product/brand top of mind and keep them coming back for more.

Credits: Youtube, DDB Group Singapore, FastCo