What started as a clever, real-time social post for one of America’s favorite brands has created a real-time mess during Super Bowl time. This year will be no different as ad managers will waste millions of dollars chasing unrealistic expectations of social success.
Let me explain.
Three years ago during Super Bowl XLVII, a 22-minute Superdome power outage set social media ablaze. Oreo capitalized on the opportunity with a simple Tweet that said “Power out? No Problem.” The text was accompanied with an image of an Oreo that said “You can still dunk in the dark.” The post received more than 15,000 retweets and led to seemingly as many awards and accolades.
The Tweet worked on a number of levels. It was clever, it was timely, and it didn’t try too hard by adding hashtags or tagging other brands. It also surprised because no one expected brands to have a copywriter and designer on standby.
During Super Bowl 50, countless brands will try and ride Oreo’s coattails by staffing war rooms full of creatives, community managers and digital strategists. Client brand managers and legal teams will be on standby as visions of going “viral’ dance in their heads. But at what cost?
Before I joined Airfoil, I had the pleasure of leading a command center during the Super Bowl. Or should I say displeasure? Despite advising clients’ against a war room due to staffing costs and low likelihood of virality, my Super Bowl Sunday was spent on the clock. After nearly two weeks of endless planning meetings, content development for potential scenarios and process planning – our staffing mix still required far too many bodies.
Come game time, eight people were to be on site including three designers, a copywriter, a community manager, a social media manager, a creative director and a VP – plus a client on standby. But a snowstorm prevented our command center from taking shape. Instead we worked remotely, while a lone cord-cutter trekked it to the office. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to create, review and publish social posts with so many cooks in so many different kitchens and you really don’t know want to know how much all of that racket costs.
But we did it last year and I’m sure the same client and many others will do it this year because they want to be like Oreo. The problem is, most brands aren’t a 103-year-old cookie backed with the media power of Nabisco. This year, brands won’t have the element of surprise as customers now expect real-time responses for every fumble and first-down.
Here are 4 tips on how to handle your social channels on Super Bowl Sunday.
Plan accordingly: less is more. Are you a big brand? Have your community manager on hand to interact with followers and the trends. Including a design team or a complicated approval hierarchy will simply slow things down. The most successful brands have community managers who can write well and are trustworthy and decisive. Are you a smaller brand? Schedule a post or two in advance that relate your brand to the game. Less is more. Pre-planned posts that reference events that will absolutely take place (halftime, or two-minute warning) are a bonus.
Don’t worry about virality. Viral posts don’t just happen. They are the result of months of hard work, great ideas, collaboration and massive media buys. In our modern pay-to-play world of social advertising you cannot worry about virality. Do the best work possible. If you’re lucky enough to have the resources to plan and paid dollars to achieve success – then congratulations.
Engage your fans. Remember, it isn’t all about your brand. Your customers and social followers want to feel special. Acknowledge them and interact with them. Building one-to-one relationships will help your brand more than wasting money on a war room for a Tweet most of your followers won't see.
Be mindful of spending. Making your employees or agency partners work during the biggest sporting event of the year costs money in staffing costs and possibly morale. Additionally, paid support during the Super Bowl is expensive. Last year Twitter ad costs surged to 2-3x normal rates. Determine if it makes fiduciary sense to create content and pay for ads during Super Bowl week or if it is better to spread those efforts out across the month, or quarter.