Jean-Christophe Conti of VIOOH: how the Super Bowl is becoming a multi-media experience

One of the biggest events in the advertising world took place on Sunday – The Super Bowl. As ever, competition for space, coverage and making an impact was fierce amongst brands as they looked to capture the hearts and minds of the world’s audience.

But it doesn’t come without a cost. This year, a 30-second advertising slot cost between $5 million and $5.2 million – and that’s just for the space to show the ad. That said, there is certainly no shortage of takers. This year snack brands were amongst one of the strongest categories, with nine brands advertising during the game, up from five last year. There were seven automotive brands running eight ads in the game, compared to six in 2019. And there were eleven first-time advertisers, on par with last year.

But is it worth the investment? Quite simply, for brands looking to make a statement and connect with an engaged audience, there’s nothing like it in the world. But the event goes way beyond what is on the screen and how adverts are delivered, and where, often sets the tone for the year ahead in the industry. Here’s five things we learnt from this year’s Super Bowl:

Brands looking at different routes to success

Brands don’t just tell a story during the Super Bowl. It’s the before, during, after and around it too – that’s what makes it so all consuming. For instance, teaser content means advertisers can tell a story that resolves during the game and early release of ads use social discussion, PR and consumer anticipation to help own a moment. But as online and TV viewing audiences become more indistinguishable, brands are looking at different routes to success. Looking ahead, we’re likely to see brands creating advertising strategies that augment the best of digital with traditional advertising methods to provide a more connected, targeted and engaging experience.

Humour and emotional connections are key

This year, humour was the prevailing tone of the creative, as advertisers looked to ease the mood of the US with a few laughs. The big winner being Jeep recreating Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. The commercial’s pitch – that Bill doesn’t mind being stuck in an endless loop because he’s having such a blast – is perfect and strikes a chord with multi-generational viewers. It reminded us that making an emotional connection to stick with viewers has never been more important. This is particularly relevant in the UK where humour plays such a key role in our cultural psyche and delivering messages in context is becoming increasingly valuable.

Increase in Out of Home

There’s been a significant increase of OOH being included as part of the wider marketing-mix around Super Bowl. But why? Typically speaking, investments in TV spots and digital campaigns can become costly and by investing in high-impact media like OOH and digital OOH, your reach is widened through a cost-effective approach. It’s a trend we’re likely to see continue growing in the UK, as OOH becomes the last of the advertising mediums to become digitised. The rise in programmatic OOH means that campaigns can become more targeted and measurable, including opportunities to tailor your advert to surrounding areas.

Targeting today’s consumers

Consumers’ anticipation and expectations around Super Bowl ads aren’t just a bar advertisers have to meet, but a tool to surprise and engage viewers. This is because consumers are more likely than ever to stray from brand-specific purchases and brand loyalty. Today’s consumers are inconsistent- they seek products and services that fit into the context of what they need at a specific moment, driven by a specific set of ever-changing circumstances.

Being able to react, and adapt to this is almost real time and where advertisers will win. By using a medium like digital OOH, this can help reach new audiences and build on event promotions. Digital OOH can also be used to ring-fence events to follow the consumer journey, and thanks to programmatic, target these audiences along their journey in the following days to elongate your brand impact and, result in a longer lasting experience.

Worth the investment?

There are some that argue TV advertising around the Super Bowl is a waste of money. Yes, it gets attention but there’s little to no follow-up and that $5m investment could have been made to work harder via a broader spread of media coverage; PR, experiential, social and OOH where content can be tailored and measured with specific variables. This was traditionally difficult with OOH sitting in a silo but, thanks to programmatic, that’s no longer the case. With programmatic OOH, you can deliver a more unified, holistic campaign and consumer experience in a brand safe and fraud-free digital medium.

Jean-Christophe Conti is CEO of OOH platform VIOOH.

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