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The Big Game Ads That Score Local Touchdowns

January 18th, 2017   ||    by Charlene Weisler

Every year, the ads are as eagerly anticipated as is the big game itself. One great advantage of advertising on any live game is the extended reach the message gets, not only from the large and engaged audience that watches both the game and the ads, but from social media and postgame reactions as well. Ads during the big game reach further and last longer because they’re dissected, discussed, and ranked days after the final play.

First Down: 2016 Ad Performance

Last year, the matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos reached record-high ratings. Prices for a 30-second spot were also an all-time high, at $5 million, up 11 percent from 2015’s $4.5 million. A majority of the ads focused on celebrities, with over 40 notables appearing—from Jeff Goldblum for to Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen for Bud Light. But according to Adweek, the top-five most popular ads were non-celebrity-focused:

1. Jeep “Portraits”

2. T-Mobile “Restricted Bling”

3. Audi “Commander”

4. Heinz Ketchup “Wiener Stampede”

5. Doritos “Ultrasound”

Second Down: 2017 National and Local Ads

What type of advertising can we expect from the big game this year? With Fox asking as much as $5.5 million for a 30-second spot, according to Fortune Magazine, advertisers like GoDaddy, Mars, Avocados from Mexico, WeatherTech, Wix, and Anheuser-Busch are already committed, but Frito-Lay and Toyota insinuated they may not show.

Fortunately, national advertisers who opt out of national time can still participate at a local level. The ad’s creative can better target regional preferences while local advertisers can gain greater impact for their messages.

Third Down: The Local Advantage

Local ads, including regional buys by national advertisers, also have their following, as USA Today’s Ad Meter points out, and are more cost-effective than national time. You can also target viewers by specific market with local, which can deliver greater relevancy, engagement, and attention.

The big game last year was highly cluttered, according to AdvertisingAge, with an ad load of 49 minutes, 35 seconds as measured by Kantar Media—the second-most-cluttered NFL broadcast ever. This year’s championship could be even more cluttered.

Fourth Down: Social Media Impact

Local advertising not only offers savvy advertisers the benefits of lower local rates in a highly expensive national program, but it can also expand their impact beyond local boundaries with social media. The spread of smart TVs and the addition of social media elements like hashtags allow advertisers to both engage audiences and better measure return on investment (ROI).

Adweek pointed out that last year, half (28 of 56) of all advertisers included a hashtag in their ad. Hashtags can indicate the degree of engagement an ad had by tracking visits, clicks, and shares. The metrics also ascertain how local the local ad was and how much depth and traction the ad provided in driving local business.

Drafting Next Year’s Team

Based on past performance, the local ads that could perform well in the future will be those that have three components: engaging creative that speaks to the local consumer, a strong social media component, and a message that relies on non-celebrity talent.

Let the game (and the ads) begin!

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