In 2017, brands shouldn’t be fumbling around to pull off a successful Super Bowl ad. And yet, errors and missed opportunities abounded in last night’s game. Here are three lessons that marketers and customer experience professionals (and the advertising agencies they turn to for advice) still need to learn:
- Stress test your friggin website! 84 Lumber’s ad about immigration encouraged the Super Bowl’s 100+ million viewers to visit journey84.com to watch the portions of the ad deemed too controversial for TV. Well, enough of us did just that to crash the journey84 website. Fifteen minutes after the commercial played, I was still seeing only a white page with “The service is unavailable.” Kudos to 84 Lumber for drawing such a large crowd. But in 2017, big brands’ servers should be robust enough respond to each customer’s web request in milliseconds. You paid $5 million for your 30-second spot and God knows how much in the ad itself. Now invest in the tech infrastructure required to pull it off.
- Direct viewers to online channels. I’ve watched with interest for years as brands (and their advertising agencies) have added (or not) social media hashtags, FB links, and URLs to their Super Bowl ads. A couple of years ago I wrote, “2015 was the year of the Super Bowl hashtag. A slew of established brands and startups—including Budweiser, Doritos, Lexus, Mercedes, and Wix—directed viewers to hashtags at the end of their ads.” Things looked dramatically different during this year’s game: I wasn’t specifically counting, but I just didn’t notice many mentions of brands’ online presences. This is bad news for brands. Recode reports that Facebook activity throughout the game was down 25% from last year—and Twitter saw a 33% drop in posts.
- Engage with people who mention you. During the game I tweeted out to Google, Coca Cola, T-Mobile, AnheuserBusch, and Michelob ULTRA in praise of their Super Bowl ads. Only @MichelobULTRA responded with a note saying, “We’re stronger when we encourage each other to go the extra mile.” Again, you’ve already paid a ridiculous amount for the air time and the ad. How much more would it cost to employ a team of people to actively manage your social media feed for a few hours?
The biggest lesson of all: The customer journey shouldn’t end when your TV spot does.