Friday, January 28, 2011
This violates my self-imposed ban on pre-Super Bowl hype, but one thing I saw on Twitter today is something I whine about often. (See? Look at me all self-effacing!) If you watch one thing besides the game (and of course the commercials), look closely at how many spots will either not have integration with an online component of the campaign you just saw, or only drive you to their main website from a 3-second flash of a url. It’s as if the digital strategy of large brands is in hoping people will DVR or pause their spot on YouTube to read the url.
Cue more of the same a week from Sunday.
I can’t predict the score or the winner but I’m pretty sure about the wasted opportunities to come. Some large restaurant chain will offer free food – again. Or as the tweet above says, a spate of prompts like this: “Like us on Facebook for a chance to win!” If both aren’t also examples of classic direct response marketing more than social media marketing, I’m not really sure what is then.
(As an aside, the title of the post is of course a joke, but... is it possible that one day a social network has control over content you watch? Before you answer, consider how Cablevision can yank programming you pay for. Is it unrealistic then to consider a partnership between service providers and content producers? In effect, you already *pay* for Facebook as part of your monthly internet fees. How long before it all merges and content gates like that are put in place?)
The other use you see more of now is surrounds big TV events like the VMAs or the Oscars, and is exactly what VISA is doing in currating realtime discussions. (Yes people have been chatting online during the past Super Bowls, but CurrentTV’s Hack The Debate in 2008 tried to do something more with the format.)
Curration, aggrebation, or whatever you want to call it, is simply a way for brands to say they’re part of a conversation where all of us fans hang out.. to eventually be served up ads while we’re trying to tweet about the event. The event website then has a big-ass banner or other branding.
That as they say, is the digital state of the union as it exists today.
While there’s nothing wrong with any of these methods, not enough brands are doing any of it. You’ll be in front of 90+ million people with an opportunity to drive people online for something cool, so why wouldn’t you?
Is the TV shop not thinking digitally enough? Is the brand afraid of what they may find online?
If you look at the uproar some commercials inevitably spark (Snickers near-miss gay kiss, Tebow’s right to life mom, etc.), it underscores that the things people are still really talking about take place within the confines of the :30 second spot, not beyond.
I don’t recall consumers giving props to Coke for their excellent UX at Coke.com.
To be fair, and to Vinny Warren’s excellent points on what makes a great Super Bowl spot, the success of a given commercial that day is also dependent on dumbing things down and simplifying. People are there to be entertained, so why make them work? Fair enough, but I don’t think it requires a lot of additional effort to extend the TV experience online and make it all work seamlessly.
Sadly, typically, predictably... the *best* use of social media for most brands will end up being what it always has been: people turning to YouTube et al. to find clips that ran during the game, not turning to a microsite or Facebook page. Not because they don’t *want* to— they just might not be given the opportunity. I think Ted Ferguson might have been the last site I went to after Bud Light ran their campaign during the game years ago.
I would’ve liked him on Facebook... if I could’ve.
Posted 12:33 PM