A New Contender on the Super Bowl Scene

It's true that fewer people are watching the big game on traditional TVs.
It’s true that fewer people are watching the big game on traditional TVs.

We all know that the Super Bowl is only 20% about the sports, and 80% about the commercials. Commercial breaks even beat the halftime show as the most important entertainment of the evening. But, suffice it to say, we’ve come to expect the same kinds of commercials from the same brands–beer, cars, snack food. And it’s always, always television we think of when we talk about those $3 million, 30-second spots.

But this year there’s not only a new brand but an entirely new media presence on the scene. Move over Facebook and Twitter, because this year Snapchat is where it’s at on Super Bowl Sunday. Not just Snapchat, the app for sending here-and-then-gone photos to your friends, but the Live Stories portal on Snapchat. Live Stories allows users within the same geographic region to submit photos of what their doing as part of a location-based community portrait. Now it’s not just you and your friends, but Snapchat users can be part of something bigger. And Snapchat wants to sell that particular new space to a video advertiser during the Super Bowl.

The story goes that Snapchat tried to do the same thing last year, trying to court companies to be the primary and sole advertiser on their social media platform in 2015 for $1.77 million. But the pitch wasn’t focused on Super Bowl Live Story, and they didn’t get any bites. This year, however, rumor has it that the $1.75 million spots have sold out–though we’re going to have to wait to find out who the lucky bidder is, and what their trendsetting ad will look like.

What Does This Mean for You?

First of all, this anecdote proves that it can pay off to buck trends and break into new arenas for advertising. You might think that your product or services have nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, for example, and then discover the perfect way to tie the two cleverly together with a booming presence amid the noise from predictable players.

Additionally, Snapchat needed to find the right angle to hook advertisers. In addition to finding a niche with Super Bowl Live Story, they were likely promoting the fact that the winning ad would be breaking new ground on a new platform–and being featured in plenty of coverage just like this. So for some companies, the buzz would be worthwhile regardless of the ad’s guaranteed performance (which is impossible to know, since it’s never been done before).

So it was really a case of matching a risk-taking brand with a risk-taking brand. You can stand out from the competition with a well-executed and unique campaign that no one’s ever thought about before. After all, someone had to take a chance on the first Goodyear Blimp. You just need the right audience in front of you and the right advertising team behind you–then sky’s the limit.


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