Let’s be honest. Unless you’re a Broncos or Seahawks fan, you were watching the Super Bowl just as much, if not more, for the ads than the game itself. Chances also were that you were on your phone, Tweeting or in some way engaging with your community about the ads that you saw, as you were watching them.
According to mediabisro, “583,152 tweets and 650,757 Facebook posts were written about Super Bowl ads, with Budweiser, Pepsi and Coca Cola picking up the most mentions.” Additionally, 90% of social media buzz around the mostly highly-engaging Super Bowl to date was generated via mobile.
If the above description seems fitting, then it’s also likely that you noticed all of the hashtags and social media call-outs featured in those over-the-top commercials. Hashtags were used in 57% of the ads overall, to be exact.
Another notable trend was the lack of branded hashtags. It seems that the brands willing to spend the big bucks on Super Bowl advertising were ready to take the leap from hashtags incorporating their brand name to more fun, conversational, engaging hashtags that they can own on the social space (think Nissan’s “Hail Yes” campaign). Brands that saw the most success were Axe with #KissForPeace, Bud Light’s #BestBuds and #UpForWhatever, Ford with #nearlydouble, and, of course, GoDaddy.com’s #ItsGoTime.
Brands’ priorities have noticeably shifted – if the Super Bowl advertising tells us anything, it’s that brands are less concerned about promoting a campaign, and are instead focusing on awareness. Featuring a hashtag in an ad establishes a connection that links off-line advertising to a brand’s online space. By featuring a hashtag, branded or not, viewers are provided with material to work with when they inevitably go on to their phones to voice their thoughts.
“With social being so much a part of life as we know it, the hashtag has evolved into a character – something that can describe a mood or experience that ties people together,” said Jennifer Manger, social media marketing manager at Wells Fargo. “Being able to join in that experience is exactly what brands want to do, but in a relevant social context.”
Social has become the natural next step, or CTA, if you will. Even Jamie Casino, the Georgia attorney who ran a local spot during the Super Bowl, and who has dominated the social space after his intensely awesome 2-minute commercial went viral, wrapped up his entire masterpiece with a hashtag.
To stay relevant, commercials need to provide a social tie-in. This simple action can exponentially increase awareness of a brand’s social presence. Additionally, it allows the brand to showcase their personality and voice by encouraging online interaction, which, as a result, helps build relationships between the brand and the consumer, turning potential customers into community members, fans, and possibly advocates.
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