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Super Bowl mobile marketing finds groove before and after game

Numerous brands delivered well-crafted mobile strategies capitalizing on the excitement both before and after the Super Bowl, overshadowing any efforts to drive engagement during the popular live event. 

From mobile-driven giveaways to fun digital scavenger hunts and attention-grabbing content, brands such as Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Jack in the Box, among others, bet heavily on mobile-driven programs pre- and post-game to extend the life of their significant investments in airtime during the Super Bowl. While some reports suggesting social traffic was down during the Super Bowl this year, there was also a focus on driving meaningful brand awareness and activation via second-screen engagements during the game. 

"Mobile as a major channel is somewhat of a godsend to brands looking to get involved in the Super Bowl,? said Ted Dhanik, CEO of engage:BDR. ?Super Bowl TV spots are extremely limited and coveted inventory - as such, they have hugely high barriers to entry and are reserved for the big players. 

?However, mobile traffic during the big game is a significant opportunity - whether people are at home, at a bar, or at a party, most of them have their phones on them, and many are engaging in social media commentary, looking up stats, or just browsing,? he said. 
Game playbook
In previous years, many marketers? mobile activations for the Super Bowl consisted of a hashtag at the end of a spot, an uninspired strategy that did little to encourage viewers to take action.
Brands also took to social media during the game to try to engage users with witty or relevant posts, a strategy that continued this year.

One important development this year is how many brands released their ads days before the game on social media and tied the creative to a bigger marketing strategy (see story)

Post-game engagements
A number of brands also put together programs designed to tap into the excitement around the game and extend that over the course of the next several days.

Coca-Cola aired a spot during the game to showcase the 7.5-oz. Coke Mini through a battle between Marvel superheroes The Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man as they fight over a mini can.

The ad kicked off a virtual hunt for Marvel-themed Coca-Cola Mini Cans featuring silhouettes of Hulk, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man and Falcon.

Each day through Feb. 14, Coca-Cola will release hidden clues, or Easter eggs, through its social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

The clues provide directions for how consumers can obtain a limited-edition six-pack of the mini cans. Each clue unlocks a limited number of cans. The Marvel-themed cans are not available for sales in retail outlets and are only available while supplies last.

Esurance aired a commercial immediately after the Super Bowl featuring Deadpool, another superhero from the comics. The spot encouraged viewers to retweet messages on Twitter tagged #EsuranceSweepstakes for a chance to win $250,000.

Jack in the Box urged Super Bowl viewers to sign up to receive a coupon for a free burger. The chain is planning to give away 1 million burgers, with much of the activity expected to take place on mobile.

Mobile responsiveness
Mobile activity during the game was strong.

Agency Fetch reported that while mobile used dropped 36 percent in the hour before the Super Bowl kickoff, it increased back to 1 p.m. levels from kickoff as users downloaded apps or posted on social media. However, mobile responsiveness, or how people responded to mobile ads, fell by 10 percent compared with pre-game levels. It rose again just after the game finished and then slumped one hour later.

Mobile use stayed up throughout the game before dropping an hour after the game.

Per Fetch, the key takeaway for mobile advertisers is that they should focus on during and post-game timing rather than the hours before the game or during the half-time show, when users are not as engaged with ads.

The biggest spenders on TV time saw their investments translate well to social media, according to Geckoboard. For example, Hyundai, the biggest estimated TV media spender, also had the highest number of social mentions during the game.

Social variety
Brands were active on a number of different social platforms.

Budweiser promoted its #GiveADamn hashtag by partnering with Joe Jonas for a Tweet. Budweiser donated $1 for each retweet of Mr. Jonas? original tweet toward Safe Ride programs.

Pepsi was also very active on Twitter and commented on many of the commercials by tweeting to the brands involved.

Brands were also active on Snapchat, with 20th Century Fox sponsoring filters on Snapchat for its upcoming superhero films Deadpool and X-Men Apocalypse. For Deadpool, the title character was featured with an owl perched on his head, alongside text reading "what a superb owl party" while another filter other spelled out the film's title through emojis.

Twitter also brought users a streamlined method of viewing ads by providing a stream of the best ads. 

?The specific targeting options available on mobile mean that I, as a marketer, could cut out an ideal chunk of my audience - engaging with them at a point where people are hyper-receptive to advertising, but at a much more controlled budget point," Mr. Dhanik said. 

?This accessibility is already driving growth of quality in mobile activations, and will only continue to grow with mobile use.?

Additional reporting provided by Brielle Jaekel and Alex Samuely