Super Serious About Streaming

The “Big Game” is just days away now, and for some, football is an afterthought. Indeed, if you’re not a fan of the Seattle Oceanbirds or the New England Freedomists, you may be more excited for everything else about the game – the betting, the parties, the halftime show, or, if you’re like me, the commercials.

NBC is broadcasting the game this year and appears to be focused on providing its viewers advertisers with as many opportunities to watch the game commercials as it can. In addition to live-streaming the entire game, including the halftime show, NBC Sports has set up a Tumblr page which will serve primarily as a platform for ads as/after they air. If you’re thinking, “I thought Tumblrs were for teenagers,” well, you’re not that far off. In its current form, it’s clear who the intended audience of the content is. It’s definitely not your grandfather’s blogging site.

In the not-so-distant past, commercials during football’s final game of the season were largely designed to promote brand awareness or generate buzz around a product. The soaring price tag for a 30 second spot finally made advertisers think: we need to see some kind of return. With the rise of social media came a new opportunity for advertisers to connect with their audience. No longer are Super Sunday viewers simply watching the game on TV, they’re simultaneously connected to phones and tablets.

In a world full of digital distractions and declining attention spans, advertisers face a challenge. NBC’s focus on the second-screen experience during Sunday’s game is an acknowledgement of the changing times. From firsthand experience, I’ve seen a decline in cable and satellite subscribers in the 25-34 age group (roughly 75% of my friends have abandoned traditional television in favor of streaming services). The decision to stream the game live is a smart one, and the digital platform gives so much more value to advertisers.

Think about it: an ad airs for 30 seconds during the game. There’s a call to action – watch the extended ad online, visit a website, chime in on social media. Any of those actions can be tracked and attributed. I search on YouTube for the extended ad, and there’s another call to action. Maybe I like the commercial so much I go to NBC’s Tumblr page to watch it again. While I’m there I see other things that pique my interest.

And you don’t have to be an official advertiser during the game to benefit; we’ve seen some great piggybacking in recent years. When the lights in the Superdome went out during Super Bowl XLVII, quick-thinking brands jumped in with some creative ads. Outside of the game, the second-screen has become a staple for many marketers. Fans of popular cable shows can attest to the use of this marketing strategy.

Advertisers are hoping to come out of Sunday with a deeper connection with current customers and fans, as well as scores of new ones. They’ll be able to track these users and continue to target them, making their investment worth every penny. But you don’t need a million dollar budget to take action of your own, any marketer can adapt these strategies to their own business. One thing that will never go out of style is the need to create and develop engaging content.

Ryan McGrath is a Marketing Consultant at G.1440. He’ll probably spend more time watching the commercials and the Katy Perry halftime show than watching the actual game. And by this time next year he’ll forget who won. He can be reached at