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February 3rd, 2016

Where Does a “Big Game” Ad Fit In A Content Marketing Plan?

Are you ready for this Sunday’s Big Game? Have you bought that new flat-screen TV, planned what kind of pizza and sides to order and what kind of guacamole to have for your guests? Are you ready with conversations-starters to fill in the time between commercial breaks?

Yes, as we’ve been told by countless articles and numerous studies, many viewers watch the game more for the commercials than for the game. Recently a new survey showed 77% of respondents see those commercials as mostly entertainment, even as they do realize that they’re being marketed to. But I’ve been thinking of how the commercials can or should fit into an overall content marketing plan.

For the sake of simplicity let’s say that these commercials are what we would term “Premium Content,” a big moment in an ongoing content plan that is meant to create a spike in conversations and generate press coverage. It’s safe to assume these commercials fit that definition. As we know Premium Content moments should be supported both before and after release by Core Content, or the everyday messaging that happens online and offline.

Today I’m going to look at what three brands are doing in advance of their Big Game ads, which is costing $5 million. Next week I’ll look at the commercials themselves and then the week after that I’ll review what they’ve been doing in the wake of that big moment, specifically on Twitter since it’s an easy single source to audit. So let’s dive in:


On January 22nd they teased the audience to “Meet the Ketchups,” a family of condiments, on 2/2. A week later they introduced “Original” and then on 2/1 (what happened that  they went a day earlier than planned, I wonder) we were introduced to the whole family. That tweet said the whole family would be in “the Big Game” and linked to the full 60-second commercial the company planned for the broadcast. A 30-second version of the spot was then shared natively on Twitter the next day. After that they RTd @Someecards praising the commercial and then did the same for an @Mashable post.

The spot appears to be part of a long-running campaign from Heinz called “Heinz Ketchup Got a New Mustard” that’s meant to introduce Heinz Mustard. Anthropomorphized condiment bottles play out how Heinz Ketchup breaks up with generic mustard for the new Heinz Ketchup, which has “better taste.” This is an expansion of that to show the whole family – hence the teasers. So the company has been using #MeetTheKetchups on social. Aside from the native video there hasn’t been a whole lot of engagement on Twitter and it’s interesting to see, considering the buzz the full commercial has been getting that it’s not doing more to amplify the conversations other people have been having about how cute the wiener dogs are.


The website design and hosting company began teasing their involvement, which involves live game commentary by the Key & Peele team on February 1st, less than a week before the game. Since then the company has shared a few short videos and GIFs featuring Lee and Morris, the pair played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, as they get ready for their broadcast. As usual with these two everything has their unique sense of humor attached. There are a couple posts where Squarespace has asked individuals – presumably those who have been talking positively about the campaign to date – for permission to use their Tweets on the campaign site.

squarespace super bowl

All the posts include the #RealTalk hashtag to reinforce the campaign branding and keep people focused on the the single point of conversation. Most of the posts also contain a link to the campaign landing page, which right now is counting down to the Big Game and encouraging visitors to tune in for the Real Talk commentary. It also has all the videos and GIFs that have also been shared via social. Smartly, there’s also a big call to action in the upper right hand corner encouraging people to Get Started and “Create a dope website.”

Deadpool (20th Century Fox)

Despite being one of the few upcoming movies with a TV spot confirmed for the Big Game there’s nothing on Twitter about it. No encouragements to stay tuned for the full commercial or teases or anything else. That’s all the more surprising considering reports 20th Century Fox will be making a big deal about the Merc With A Mouth in other ways, including having star Ryan Reynolds work a food truck on Friday night and holding the press junket Saturday night in a bar near the stadium where the game is being played. The studio also is said to have big social media plans, including lots of Snapchat activity, during the game itself on Sunday.

So how will this play out? How much conversation will these efforts have in execution? We’ll have to wait until after the game to measure the results.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Content Marketing, Marketing

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