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Super Bowl 50 advertisers move the ball with mobile

By
February 9, 2016

Jeff Hasen

Jeff Hasen

By Jeff Hasen

The milestone that was the 50th Super Bowl will be remembered also for the advancements that advertisers made by including meaningful calls to action for mobile device owners.

But much like the spotty play on the field, there were clear missed opportunities and disappointments that not more was done to make the day all that it could be.

More on that
If we were to do a SportsCenter-like show highlighting the mobile wins, these would be included:

NO MORE, an advocacy group that works to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, maximized the moment by building a mobile database with a powerful commercial that follows a text message conversation between two friends.

A woman’s reluctance to come to a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house, after missing a few social occasions, coupled with her silence when questioned about her well being, raises concern for her safety. Texting was used to point out one of the many signs of domestic violence, namely her inability to talk about an abusive relationship.

The spot ends by calling on viewers to “TEXT ‘NO MORE’ TO 94543.”

For a limited time beyond Super Bowl 50, people who opted into the text program will receive action-oriented messages educating them on common signs of abuse and steps that they can take to help victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. The texts will also reinforce the message that “you don’t need be an expert to get involved, you just need to be a friend.”

Why was this message so – pardon the pun – spot on?

NO MORE has found that 64 percent of Americans say that simply starting a conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault would make it easier to help someone.

Also, as we know, Gallup and others report that texting is a dominant way of communicating for Americans under 50 years.

Interestingly, the cost of the airtime and production was covered by the National Football League.

Insuring response
Elsewhere during the telecast, just before the game began, Esurance launched a contest where every retweet of a specified hashtag was entered into a sweepstakes.

It was a good start in asking viewers to do something with their mobile phones. Later, it was reported that the ad generated 9,000 tweets a minute.

Separately, Quicken Loans encouraged viewers to get a mortgage via a mobile application. There was immediate backlash from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others urging people to take their time with such an important process, but the availability of such an option is surely welcome to some who will want the convenience after doing their research on their phone or computer.

Finally, developer Machine Zone pushed mobile app downloads of Mobile Strike with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in the spot.

The “misses” list was just as noteworthy:

Missing the sauce
Apartments.com had a Jefferson’s parody to encourage watchers to “move on up,” but its tagline “Change your apartment.” “Change the world” dropped the ball on the biggest change in the category, namely the fact that large numbers of apartment hunters use their mobile phones to research, view and sign leases to new places to live.

Also, viewers were entertained by wiener dogs racing to condiment bottles, but it was learned on Twitter that MeetTheKetchups had a longer director’s cut. Why did Heinz not use television to drive traffic to a mobile Web site or produce and promote a mobile app to take advantage of the buzz?

Elsewhere, we were asked to “go online to view the new Jungle Book (Disney movie) trailer.” But there was no app or call to action for viewers to see more footage via opt-in. The call to action used was disappointing because it was vintage 1997.

OVERALL, I WOULD say that advertisers moved the ball in 2016.

But to fully score next year and beyond, marketers must more fully acknowledge and cater to the mobile generation of viewers.

Jeff Hasen is founder/president of mobile consultancy Gotta Mobilize, Seattle. Reach him at jhasen@gottamobilize.com. His latest book is “The Art of Mobile Persuasion” (Frontier Press, June 2015).

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