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What Can Your e-Commerce Store Learn from the Super Bowl?

30 January 2015 by Daniel Lewis


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(Image by  Craig Hawkins under CC BY 2.0)

Despite what you might think, it’s not just the big players who can take advantage of the phenomenal audiences garnered by the Super Bowl.

We’re not talking a prime time TV spot (this year a 30 second ad costs a jaw-dropping $8 million), more harnessing the power of digital and social media to get a piece of the action.

Do it right, and your brand could be talked about for the weeks, months and even years following the event.

We’re not kidding – think Oreo’s Super Bowl slam dunk back in 2013. Their perfectly-timed “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet (which followed a power-outage in the early third quarter of the game) was retweeted almost 15,000 times, and spurred an incredible social media knock-on effect of epic proportions.

Yes they’re a big brand, but the premise is simple. Get involved on social media and you could be seeing a big ROI. 

Culture Jack

By being timely and topical, you too can succeed with social media. The technique used by Oreo has become known as ‘culture jacking’ – interjecting your marketing message into an event to gain the attention of prospective customers and the media.

You might not have an in-house team of hotshot marketers ready to confer on an in-the-moment tweet responding to an unforeseen incident, but you can make a calendar of upcoming events and plan posts around them.

You should then naturally be able to slot your brand’s message into the conversation surrounding the event by using a relevant hashtag for example.

Don’t get bogged down in details – keep things light-hearted and remember your brand’s voice. Make sure that whatever you come up with tells the viewer something about your brand, and add a call-to-action to capitalize on whatever attention you get (more on this later).

Embrace Visual

As well as giving people something to talk about, make sure that the content you come up with can be easily shared. Visuals tend to be more successful than written content in this context – they can be viewed, enjoyed and passed along in a matter of seconds, so consider getting your graphics expert involved. 

A brand that did this exceptionally well at last year’s Super Bowl were Audi, which executed the world’s first successful Snapchat campaign. Its visual campaign increased its following by 5000 on Super Bowl Sunday evening alone.

The Seahawks’ 43-8 win was touted as the most boring Super Bowl game ever, with some even saying that Audi’s snaps were the best thing about it. Not a bad achievement at all. 

All they did was pair stock photos with clever captions that poked fun at the game – and you don’t need a Photoshop whizz to do that.

Prime Your Calls to Action

(Image by Garry Knight under CC BY 2.0)

Your call to action is the part of your marketing efforts that tells your customer exactly what you want them to do, so think carefully about what you actually want to achieve. Whether it’s growing your brand on Twitter or driving more people to your site, the right call to action can make or break your efforts.

Oreo’s included growing its Instagram following, but your social media efforts can point those who seem them wherever you want.

Optimizing your social posts to include calls to action can drive the immediate response that you want – whether it’s asking your followers for a retweet or follow, to head to a landing page, to download something or simply to engage in conversation.

There’s a great piece on the Twitter blog that elaborates on the best calls to action to insert in your tweets, as well as how to do it without putting people off.

Remember, Twitter is about conversation so balance your CTAs with the useful, entertaining snippets you’ve been planning.

The Takeaway

Yes, these are big brands we’re talking about, but their actions can be imitated by the little guys, too.

If you’ve already spent time growing your social community by posting consistently and frequently, then your followers will be primed and ready to share your timely, topical, tweets pics and posts.


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