Exceptional Brand Experiences Go Far Beyond the 30-Second Super Bowl Ad
Hooking an audience with celebrities or talking animals is the easy part. It’s the billions of campaign visits that come next that keep modern CMOs up at night.
Super Bowl LVI is almost here, and with that comes one of my favorite pastimes: watching the commercials! And you know I’m not alone — 30% of viewers tune in to the big game primarily to see the commercials, upping the pressure on CMOs to “get it right.” But winning the hearts and minds of the more than 100 million anticipated viewers goes far beyond creating a captivating 30- or 60-second spot. In fact, the production, supporting digital assets, celebrity endorsements, talking animals, etc. just scratch the surface when it comes to delivering an exceptional brand experience.
Let’s just presume the ads land — what happens next are the billions of views to the brands’ websites and social media channels. According to research from Ad Age and iSpot, there were over 6 billion TV ad impressions, over 25 million earned online views, and almost 64 billion social impressions attached to last year’s Super Bowl. As the CMO of the company that powers and protects life online, I can assure you, that, right there, is where you make or break a brand experience.
Consider the counterprogramming efforts that are intended to draft off of the Super Bowl hype, starting with the game itself. CMOs know that nearly 60% of viewers plan to keep up with the game on multiple devices. However, the commercial spot is just a catalyst to drive more people into the campaign — that is when the opportunity begins to truly capitalize on the campaign investment. For example, Pepsi is expanding upon its Super Bowl halftime show sponsorship by launching a mobile app that promises access to special programming, giveaways, and gear autographed by a celebrity.
So while all the fanfare may be about the ads and the creative campaigns that follow, consumers’ expectations are that the digital experience will be consistently fast, consistently engaging, and completely secure no matter how they consume it. That means your smart TV content needs to be delivered as intended, your website and mobile applications need to perform flawlessly, and any logins, credit card transactions (including if you’re taking crypto as payment!), or loyalty programs need to remain secure. Traffic may surge during the halftime show, but the digital experience has to perform flawlessly for weeks and months.
Akamai has been reporting on elevated traffic levels since the pandemic began. We have also been highlighting the security threats that keep business leaders up at night. Imagine the impact to a brand, the lost revenue from DDoS or application attacks impacting site availability, bot attacks stealing and abusing user credentials, exhausting inventory meant for your buyers, or overwhelming your infrastructure so calls to action can’t convert. And that’s without the threat of digital piracy impacting your ability to launch that viral campaign on your own terms, or keeping your viewers engaged with your paid ad placements.
It will be interesting to see the uptick in streams, threats, traffic, and sales for advertisers and performers in Sunday’s game. We’ll be watching and will report back with any notable observations. Here at Akamai, we have a high-stakes privilege of helping our customers not just on Super Bowl Sunday, but every day as we power and protect life online.
In the meantime, since the Patriots aren’t playing — yes, I’m a Patriots fan (sorry) — I’m gearing up for a great day of commercials and halftime performances. And I can’t sign off without sharing my favorite pre-released commercial so far — the Nissan ad gets my vote. What’s your favorite?