The Five Rules of Social TV… and it’s all thanks to Coke’s Socialbowl

By Lloyd Salmons and Ronnie Crosbie from Outside Line

This is the year that the Superbowl got all social on itself. With an estimated 60 per cent of its 100 million viewers tuning in via a ‘second screen’, it’s no wonder the main players have woken up to social plug-ins.

The Superbowl has – until now – been the primary platform for blockbusting TV ads. So it’s interesting to see how the big 30-second spot is evolving in the era of social media.  This year’s event set two new records on Twitter for the number of tweets per second. During Madonna’s half-time performance Twitter traffic reached 10,245 tweets per second and after the Giant’s won, Twitter traffic reached 12,233 tweets per second. The relationship between an increase in tablet usage and social media this year, mean that major televised events are increasingly becoming a two-screen experience.

This year Pepsi tied-up with Shazam to let viewers download Melanie Amaro’s (X Factor USA’s winner) performance of Otis Redding’s “Respect”. Audi used social TV to extend their interaction beyond the commercial break with the hashtag #SoLongVampires.

And Coca Cola is brought back modern reincarnations of their trademark polar bears, letting them interact with great viewing public via Twitter and Facebook.

But in true big game style, who’s scored a touchdown and who leaves empty-handed?

Pepsi’s ‘Respect’ campaign didn’t feel like it merited much respect. The social aspect came across as an afterthought. Just imagine the meeting: ‘shit, we need to do something social… let’s do a download!’. Audi fared a bit better. By jumping on the vampire bandwagon, they pretty much guaranteed an excitable level of social conversations with #SoLongVampires. But the winner – hands down – has to be Coca Cola who put so much faith in their social campaign that they invested in two spots during the TV break.

In fact, they placed so much store in their social campaign that they went to the extent of partnering with the tech world (Oscar-winning visual effects house, Framestore, and video game developer, Blitz) to develop brand spanking new technology that allowed the CG bears to become interactive… it’s all groundbreaking stuff if you’re part of that world.

This campaign stood out because it offered genuine added-value. Coca Cola (and its partner agencies) haveproperly understood the way people consume and interact with the big game. Viewers watch the Superbowl as much for the ads as the game itself. And they have a habit of Facebooking and Tweeting about them. But, ultimately, they’re there for the game. By getting the polar bears to react to the game, they became part of the experience, rather than interrupting the experience. Moreover, the bears offered insights into the game and so added value.

By creating family-friendly interactive polar bears, Coca Cola tapped straight into the power of ‘shared interest’, making their social campaign unmissablybig so that liked-minded individuals ended up in the same place. It was a clever approach that made Coca Cola part of the event rather than an intrusion or distraction. This wouldn’t necessarily have appealed to the hardcore Superbowl fan, but it certainly hit the spot in terms of family fun… and you need something else entertaining for a game that stretches over four hours! Cameo performances by dancing penguins should have kept the kids from running riot in another room.

The bears created an experience in their own right, by generating their own entertainment and value but around shared interest. By collecting like-minded people together, Coca Cola fuelled more discussion and made people feel they were in the right place with the right brand. And by kicking-off the social campaign before the actual game, Coca Cola built an enviablebuzz, fan base and conversation that helped buildanticipation of the game.

Coca Cola created a clever campaign that managed to communicate brand values and product benefits around the shared interest in an unobtrusive and relevant way. Good on them I say. In fact, this campaign was so well thought-out that it should be used as a blueprint for social TV rules:

1. The most effective social TV campaigns arebuilt around a genuine shared interest. Make them part of the event rather than an intrusion.

2. Add value insight into the event… a welcome distraction or an expert/statistical opinion

3. Be clearly targeted to collect like minded people together, making them feel they’re in the right place with the right brand.

4. Don’t ‘sponsor’ an event with traditional advertising – create a complementary experience; one that brings its own entertainment and value.

5. Start early and build support in the lead up to the event itself.

Lloyd Salmons  will be speaking on Social TV at this year’s SMWF Europe in March. To find out more about the Social TV track and register your place please click here.


Enhanced by Zemanta