Brands that interact with their audience are more likely to sustain attention, build awareness and invoke a response from their target audiences. Although most of the Super Bowl commercials were lackluster this year, several of the ads used social media-based calls-to-action that helped poise the sponsoring brands for success. While you may not typically enjoy Coca Cola and Oreos in the same sitting, the two food brands employed similar tactics with very different outcomes. As one company suffered the woes of a malfunctioning website, the other became a sensation on two separate social media sites. And although the outcomes differed considerably, both examples provide valuable lessons for organizations and brands across every industry.
A two-part Coca-Cola commercial aimed to draw viewers to their website. In part one, the audience saw several groups of people (motorcyclists, show girls, cowboys, etc.) in an all-out race towards an ice cold Coke in the middle of the desert. The ad directed viewers to go online and vote for the group they wanted to win, and the second half of the commercial featured the winning team. This tactic drew the audience in with a fun, interactive contest—and good, old-fashioned competition. While many Super Bowl commercials are geared towards men, Coke’s commercial targeted a much broader range of Super Bowl viewers. The advertisement should have been a perfect example of successful audience interaction, but it wasn’t: the website malfunctioned and many viewers were unable to complete the call-to-action before the second part of the ad was scheduled to air.
Although the online voting aspect of the ad failed, the commercial did get people talking. Viewers were left wondering who would win, and it quickly became a topic of debate at many Super Bowl parties on Sunday night. By the end of the game, the audience was able to find out who won the race, regardless of whether or not they voted.
Oreo, on the other hand, had great success with their advertisement encouraging audience interaction on social media. The humorous commercial led viewers to decide on “Cookie” or “Cream” and tag Oreo on Instagram. This call-to-action led the popular cookie to gain thousands of followers on Instagram, climbing from 2,200 followers to nearly 30,000.
But instantaneous Instagram success wasn’t the end to Oreo’s victories this weekend: The brand also flourished on Twitter. The fast-thinking social media team generated a witty ad via Twitter during the blackout, reminding their audience that “you can still dunk in the dark.” The timeliness and cleverness made this tweet a huge success, leading to more than 12,000 retweets before the lights were restored.
Instant gratification is key in today’s fast-paced, demanding world. Giving your audience something to look forward to helps in the struggle to keep their attention, and – as Coca Cola learned – a failure to deliver will earn your brand ire. Additionally, rather than producing messages that require your audience to simply read or watch, give them something to DO. If they feel like they are a part of something, they will likely participate.