30-second ads at this year’s Super Bowl sold for a staggering $5 million. That’s $166,666.67 a second. And that’s just for the ad space. According to CNBC, once all the costs are added, companies are looking at a $30 million outlay for a slot on Game Day.
That’s a lot of money to spend for 30 seconds of exposure. Most businesses don’t have that amount of cash to reach the 111.9 million viewers who reportedly tuned-in to watch Super Bowl 50.-
Luckily for us, these prime time TV ads aren’t the only way to capitalize on such events. Many took advantage of the biggest advertising opportunity of the year without putting down 7 figures.
Here are some of the most innovative campaigns used at this year’s Super Bowl.
Gamification for Exposure
Did you know that 61% of viewers will download a game on their phone during the event? Progressive Insurance spotted an opportunity to interact with the audience with what they love most about the Super Bowl – the commercials. Instead of creating a TV ad, they built a Bingo game.
Jeff Charney, CMO at Progressive insurance explains
“We started watching 10 years of ads and we looked at those ads and we saw there’s always gonna to be a supermodel; there’s always gonna be a former athlete; there’s always gonna be a puppy; there’s always gonna be a mini horse or horse; there’s always gonna be a celebrity. The predictability of this was really intriguing to us.”
With the predictability of the commercials, Progressive Insurance used icons like puppies, supermodels etc. for people to engage with ads. Winners had their car payments and rent paid for the year.
And the best part? Progressive Insurance appeared in front of millions of people without bothering them. No annoying pop-ups or TV ads. Their advertising became part of the audience’s interaction with the game and their friends. This is marketing subtlety at its best.
Dominate Twitter and Get 1.5 BILLION Impressions
Esurance took to Twitter to reach its audience with a sweepstakes offer — one that was very hard to refuse. Cash prizes of $50,000 to $250,000 were on offer. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Esurance was tweeted 2.92 million times.
The effectiveness of this marketing style is questionable. Cash prizes are not going to attract loyal customers. But Esurance’s VP of Integrated Marketing , Nancy Abraham, makes a good case.
“What you hope to do is get people to think about Esurance and get to know Esurance. So when they do go to get car insurance, they think, ‘Hey, what was that cool brand that did that thing? … I’m going to check them out.'”
The jury is still out on this campaign but with 1.5 billion media exposures you would certainly expect some results.
Pizza Hut Brings Home The Bacon Pizza
Pizza Hut’s research team figured out that pre-orders come in days before Game Day. By the time the ads roll around during the game people have already got their food. Seeing a 30 second Pizza Hut ad isn’t going to convince someone to pick up the phone and order a pizza. It made sense then to focus their campaign in the days building up to the game.
To get their audience engaged, Pizza Hut used the lure of a 24-carat “Golden Garlic Knots Pizza”.
50 were delivered on game day and the results speak for themselves. $12 million in sales across their digital platforms (up from $10 million last year). According to CNBC, that accounts for about half of their total sales.
Get Your Strategy Right
85% of viewers are on their mobile phones while watching the game. It’s clear the $5 million dollar investment for a TV slot may not be the best way to reach your audience. Yes, exposure to 110+ million people in one shot can bring your company big business, but it’s also a big risk. As these 3 companies showed, it’s possible to cash in on the biggest event of the year, even with a budget 100 times smaller than the big guys. You just need the right strategy and a little innovation.
We want to hear about some of your favorite digital tactics of Super Bowl 50. Comment Below!