I decided to take a new and fresh perspective on Super Bowl advertising because the commercials quite honestly have not been very good the past few years. I wanted to see who was going to win the mobile advertising battle. So with my iPhone4 all charged up and actually working (thanks AT&T!), I started to enter brand after brand, product after product into Google on Safari mobile browser. If it was not clear to you, there was a hands-down winner this year.
Overall, I was surprised by how many brands did not think about mobile this year even though smartphone penetration is on the rise and mobile search queries have grown with it. Why not take the extra step and buy some inexpensive mobile ads on your brand or product terms? Surprisingly, brands like Doritos, Pepsi, Budweiser and Snickers did not.
So there I was deep in the third quarter of one of the better Super Bowls I can remember when I knew who won the game for mobile advertising this Sunday – Chevrolet. It was not even close.
When it comes to winning games it all starts with having a great game plan and setting your team up for success. Chevrolet did this by building a 5-page mobile microsite that features their top 5 cars: Cruze, Volt, Silverado, Camaro, and Sonic. The site was optimized for mobile, reinforced the commercials they ran and gave visitors an easy way to watch it again, and had a clean top navigation that gave options for clicking on: vehicles, dealers, offers, and more. Finally, I liked how they reinforced the recent awards they had won for the Volt, and Silverado. The only odd part was including the Sonic, which did not get featured in a commercial, but even the best coaches call a bad play here or there.
In the third quarter a slew of car commercials were hitting between every break in the action. Every time I went to search for the commercial, Chevrolet appeared. Sometimes alongside the competitor, sometimes all by their lonesome, like a wide receiver open on a post route or in the flat.
Kia Optima, Chrysler 200, Mini Countryman, and Volkswagen Beetle:
For the millions of dollars these companies spent on production and air time, the least they could do was cover off on their brand/product terms on mobile.
This was a game of great defenses and Chevrolet was right there alongside Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu. They did not miss a beat on all of their new car lines: Chevy Volt, Chevy Cruze, Chevy Silverado, and of course the old reliable Chevy Camaro.
The Special Teams
Special teams play always is a factor and it was again on this night. Chevrolet’s coup de grace was doing a huge mobile buy on Super Bowl related terms. When I searched for terms like: Super Bowl, Super Bowl 45, Super Bowl halftime show, and even Packers Super Bowl Champions (right after they won), Chevrolet was sitting there in the top spot. Just to make sure this was not a broad match to the keyword “super bowl” I did not find them on the term “Steelers Super Bowl Champions” or “Super Bowl Champions”. Chevrolet was trying to be specific and this really helped them win the night in terms of mobile search advertising.
The big losers of the day were big brands like Pepsi, who should know better. They did not buy the keyword “Pepsi Max”. Then there was Doritos who also did not buy their brand terms and instead allowed their organic result www.doritos.com to go to a site that is flash, which on my iPhone4 looked like this:
Even brands such as Snickers, coming off one of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of 2010, failed to bid on their own brand terms. And while Bud Light did, they took you to a site that was not optimized for a mobile phone:
Finally, Bridgestone goes so far as to sponsor the halftime show featuring the Black Eyed Peas, but does not buy the term “Bridgestone halftime show” or even broad match their brand term to capture those searches.
An appropriate ending to the evening and what seemed like the well-deserved honor was Chevrolet sponsoring the trophy presentation and giving the game’s MVP Aaron Rodgers a brand new Chevy Camaro. If there was a mobile advertising award on this evening, the hands down winner is Chevrolet, Super Bowl XLV’s MVP!
2011 looked to be the year that mobile search advertising would finally get to the next level. Based on the number of brands that didn’t extend their TV buys into AdWords, we may need some additional work in the off-season.