Super Bowl: Big Game, Big Risks

Fun fact – for what it would cost you for a 30 second Super Bowl spot, you can have a homepage takeover of AOL for 8 days straight. (Digiday)

Super Bowl Sunday is, well, the Super Bowl for advertisers.  It’s the one day of the year when all stops are pulled out, no expense spared, and the very best your brand has to offer is put on the grand stage.  With a hefty price tag, is it worth it?

There are a few brands that are going big this year. Here’s a quick glimpse into some of the campaigns that catch my eye with social media marketing insight.

1. Hold out to the very last minute. For the 7th year in a row, Doritos is holding a talent search for the best fan made video which will then become their Super Bowl spot.  To add a social element, voting is taking place through a Facebook app.  With voting already closed, the promotion lacks the element of a photo finish as to which spot makes it.  Having voting up until the minute the spot actually airs would have kept people glued to promotion, but overall a great campaign.

2. Personalization and integration across all platforms is key. Coke is going with a more character-based story.  Offering fans the chance to vote between three different groups of characters, the winning stable will get their spot aired during the game.  Coke smartly offered the chance to get to know these characters through supporting content before fans make their decision.  The coupon voting incentive certainly helps as well.

3. Gamify the experience. With only one major superhero release this year (Iron Man 3, which surprisingly is only doing a trailer), Star Trek Into Darkness has the chance to steal some of the spotlight.  Adding a gameified social experience, fans are encouraged to scan Star Trek media with an app to gain unlockables like clips and photos from the movie.  Of course, some of this scannable media will be the trailer during the game.  The app launched yesterday, so we’ll see if it was enough time to build a base before leveraging the Super Bowl.

4. Crowdsource your content. Lincoln is partnering with Jimmy Fallon this year to crowdsource a commercial script from Twitter.  “Steer The Script” is a success, in my opinion, because it puts the power in the hands of the fans, but also leverages Jimmy Fallon, who is a known champion of Twitter and never shies away from product endorsement.  It’s also nice to see Emmett Smith again.

5. Celebritize your users, highlight their content, and be simple and organized about it. Going a different route, Pepsi is taking advantage of hashtags and Twitter to gather photos for a montage before the halftime show.  Nice move going for a partnership instead of a spot, but what about Instagram?

Overall, the Super Bowl is still the Big Show for advertisers.  But as the world becomes more social and participatory, will it remain that way?

The Living Brand As Artistic Patron

Art. The very definition of the term has been contested nearly as long as the concept itself. In the classical sense “Art” was the result of an artist creating something through their own conscious will without any other incentive to do so other than creating the work itself. While the purity of this concept is wonderfully idyllic—in practice great art is usually developed through a unique partnership between a cultural catalyst or patron and the person creating the work itself.

Great artistic patrons were larger than life—often defining the eras in which they lived. The early “cultured class” devised new ways to outdo one another by commissioning and acquiring gilded masses of raw earth and polychromatic canvases depicting their built universe in a “modern” manner, meant to evolve the way society viewed itself—as well as those that defined their ever-lasting image.

Fast forward to the early 20th century where great patrons still collected and commissioned notable works of art. Artists were superstars as ever-before, but their patrons shined just as bright in an equal light.

Consumer brands stepped in to underwrite early television programs, lending credibility to their products and seeking to project a brand-centric halo over a exciting and nascent medium. Brands themselves even turned into great museums—places like the General Electric and PepsiCo campuses in upstate New York contain art collections that rival many established institutions.

In our modern world that increasingly values unique and memorable visual moments more pressure than ever is on a brand to inspire, package and redefine the way they communicate.

Brands must enter the era of true artistic co-creation. They need to be comfortable allowing talented and symbiotic members of the artistic community to briefly become the brand in voice and image. In this new era the artist becomes an integral part of an ever-evolving and active brand voice.

Using this model, we imagined a lucid and borderline-halcyon universe where great eras in the history of the Lincoln brand were stylized and made relevant for a new generation of dreamers experience and make their own.

The most captivating way to get this message across to the right audience was to adopt the use of Cinemagraphs as the centerpiece of a recent campaign for Lincoln. Cinemagraphs were the perfect solution to capture a single moment in time but allow for each moment to truly “breathe.”

The social capital inherent in our Cinemagraphs had everything to do with the people involved in the co-creation and execution of the idea. Jamie Beck, Kevin Burg and Kelly Framel were brought in to not only refine the emotional elements of the final images but also offer insight into the specific social following they have that celebrate and elevate the perfectly-tailored elements of each Cinemagraph.

We wanted to ensure we showcased the raw emotions involved in not only spotting a classic Lincoln, but the dreams of those that drove them everyday. The beat poet who rediscovered a hand-me-down 1953 Lincoln Capri Convertible parked in an alley challenging convention. The lawyer who, while driving down the Taconic Parkway in a 1963 Lincoln Continental wanted nothing more than to  pull over in a field of dreams instead of the parking garage of their office tower in midtown Manhattan.

We captured specific emotions and had the end result live out on social channels that align with different parts of the way our target dreams and socializes. Each communication platform requires a different approach to maximize the amount of an emotional connections between the type of content and the personality of the viewer.

While the fully-animated Cinemagraphs lived on tumblr, a suite of other collateral lived on Facebook and Instagram. The still imagery on those platforms were artifacts from different portions of our original photo shoot and were designed to allow for a unique angle of discovery depending on where potential viewers came into our brand ecosystem.

The program was a smashing success. With over 16MM+ impressions on the larger social web, 2.4MM+ impressions alone on Instagram and 121K+ active interactions over the duration of the campaign on visual social mediums, we set a new social interaction benchmark for the brand.

By challenging convention and positioning Lincoln as a brand in evolution, a celebrated patron that intrinsically understands the tactile elements of a modern consumer, both in thought and in physicality, a new generation of culturally aware creators again have an amplified voice.

Elevate Your Google+ Hangout with a Theme

[Photo credit: Google]

You’re probably familiar with what a Google+ Hangout is, but today we share with you some exciting possibilities of what a Google+ Hangout can be. For those unfamiliar with Hangouts, this Google+ feature facilitates video chats for up to 10 people, who can join the discussion at any given time.

Giving your Google+ Hangout an interesting theme will maximize the impact of your event. For this reason, we share with you some themes you can implement to make the most out of your Google+ Hangouts:

Unite Your Brand Ambassadors with Exclusive Content

What better way to reward your biggest fans than by providing them with exclusive content during a Google+ hangout? The promotional team behind the new motion picture “Lincoln” invited a select group of film fanatics and critics to preview an exclusive trailer starring Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon Levitt. The exclusivity factor draws fans to participate in order to gain content ahead of anyone not attending the Hangout.

Interesting Locations

The location of your Google+ Hangout holds no boundaries. You can host your event from wherever your imagination takes you. Bring your audience on a journey to an exotic or interesting tour, featuring locations they may have never seen. Most importantly, give them that behind-the-scenes look they would have never received. Bring your Google+ Hangout onstage with you, to give them a first-person point-of-view of your event.

Bring your Online and Offline Worlds Together

Singer Ellie Goulding recently held a digital album signing on Google+, where a select group of fans received autographed copies of her album.  The copies were digital and personalized versions that could be shown off by fans on their social media profiles.  Invite your fans to a special hangout where they can receive personalized content, either online or mailed to them in the real world.

Host a Class

What if you could showcase your thought leadership by hosting a continuous and digital class where your students can see you and ask direct questions? The Google+ Circles feature allows you to segment your brand followers into communities of interest.  You can easily build classes specifically tailored for certain interests to better cater to you audience.

Connect Your Fans with Thought Leaders

Google+ hangouts are great for social business, too. Invite your celebrity thought leader, or company executive, to connect directly with his or her audience.  This face-to-face interaction builds a more intimate connection with current and prospective fans.

Create a Press Conference

Google+ Hangouts go beyond regular conversations, and contain business features.  You can share a YouTube video with your participants, which makes for an even more interactive event: Imagine commencing your press conference with a video welcoming your attendees, and sharing your exciting announcement.  Other business features provided by Google+ Hangouts include:

* Sharing and editing Google Docs

* Sharing Screens

* Recording the Google+ Hangout

Google+ Hangouts offer a plethora of features to improve interactions with your audience; the suggestions above listed are only the beginning! Remember, the best Google+ Hangout is the one that matches your company needs.