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Nick Bennett

Strategy Director

Social Media...not so super - Super Bowl 2016

So another Super Bowl is in the record books and just perhaps from an advertising and marketing perspective - it was the weakest in a long time.

The coveted slot has become a phenomenon in its own right - with the 30-60 second slots now costing in excess of $4.8 Million and much is made of strategies of pre-event microsites, accompanying videos and trending hashtags. The ‘battle’ as many commentators refer to it as, now starts a week prior to Sunday night with this year’s spots being viewed more than 374 million times before kickoff, according to research firm iSpot.tv.

However this year, the risk factor was turned down with advertisers instead focusing on the subtle humour and levity side of the storytelling process. Nice try Snickers though with your Marilyn Monroe efforts:

Much has been made before about the connection between advert and call to action - so we really bottomed out this year where we saw AllState Insurance simply pull at the financial heart strings by promising viewers a chance to win $250,000 if they tweeted. More than 2 million had done so, as of late Sunday night.

There was no Oreo moment either (or left Shark ala Katy Perry) , though some brands tried... and no Janet Jackson style controversy either, with Coldplay spreading a message of ‘love and peace’ backed up by Beyonce and Bruno Mars. Did anyone else think Bruno Mars resembled a bin bag?

Perhaps the problem is actually a wider, more epidemic issue. Much has been made about real time content, in that we are all poised with phone in hand and twitter account at the ready - genuine spontaneity has been misplaced? Just perhaps we are looking for something that is no longer there, a repeat of previous marketing greatness and a determination for an industry to crack a nut with a sledgehammer.

The data is being crunched, the stats are being presented and in social media war rooms around the United States, there will have been pats on the back - but if i’m being honest, no one really nailed it this year - the saturated market and expectation just proving too much. Live viewing creates opportunities for real-time relevancy, but you as strategists - you need to have multiple game plans.

Though if we are to award one prize it perhaps goes to Anheuser Busch, and this just outlines the absurdity of it all - where postgame they celebrated victory when the Broncos' winning quarterback Peyton Manning said he planned to celebrate by drinking Budweiser. The company tweeted that it had not paid for the mention - and in doing so, the zero cost to being the beer that a champion drinks is possibly the greatest and widest ringing endorsement possible.

If we have learnt anything overnight is that 2016 saw the end of what I would say is the ‘game time approach’. The problem with Super Bowl is that it brings a whole wealth of people out to the party - and not just the sports fan (a group of individuals that are notoriously social). Maybe Peyton Manning has made that leap forward in the transition for athletes themselves engaging directly with fans on social media (some already do). Here they share personal stories and views as well as sports material, and brands have an opportunity to weave themselves into the conversation in an authentic way.