Twitter on why long-term storytelling and emojis are key to Super Bowl success

Brands including Skittles, Doritos, Amazon and Kia are all advertising during the Super Bowl this Sunday (7 February). But according to Twitter, the campaigns that win will be those that take a long-term approach to storytelling.

With a 30-second ad slot expected to cost between $5m and $6m this year, brands such as Pepsi has already pledged to spend almost half of its Super Bowl budget on digital in order to get more value from their investment.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Stacy Minero, director of content planning and creative agencies at Twitter, praised Pepsi’s stance while talking up the role emojis, live streaming and emotive campaigns can now play to ensure brands succeed with their Super Bowl advertising.

Pepsi has already committed 40% of its Super Bowl ad spend on digital. Is this part of a wider trend among advertisers?

Absolutely. But although the answer is yes that doesn’t mean the growth of social will come at the expense of TV advertising. There are two tracks in how people are operating around the Super Bowl, one is the fully integrated campaign, where there is TV, digital, social and mobile working together to support one activation idea.

The other is more real-time response marketing, where there isn’t a big activation planned but the brand wants to create agile content that responds to certain moments happening during the course of the event. If a brand has an integrated campaign they will want to make sure that they are being responsive with messaging, answering consumer questions and securing the right content.

Brands are realising live social response is a little bit more agile and they no longer have to rely just on their TV spot to succeed.

Twitter has made a lot of changes since the last Super Bowl. How big a role will ad channels such as Live Moments play?

“From a user standpoint last year there were 29 million global tweets about the Super Bowl in 2015, that was a 21% increase in tweet volume year-on-year. I’d expect it to increase again”.

Stacy Minero, director of Content Planning and Creative Agencies at Twitter

I’ll tell you why. Brands see Twitter as a live connection to culture and that’s because we’ve evolved so much in the last year; our creative canvas is now so much more expansive.

Go back one year to Super Bowl 49, we hadn’t acquired Niche, which enables brands to leverage creators to create content. We hadn’t launched Periscope, which enables brands to be live broadcasters. We hadn’t launched Live Moments, which allows brands to create a collection of content to tell a deeper story. We had not rolled out emojis or let brands create custom emojis. We also didn’t have autoplay, which makes video consumption seamless and frictionless. All these creative tools will drive more engagement and more interesting, dynamic activations from brands.

With all the teasers, it appears brands are trying to make their Super Bowl buzz last longer. Is this the right strategy?

The key to success is in linking up follow-up messages and stories. You saw that last year when Procter and Gamble launched Like A Girl during the Super Bowl. It was taking something derogatory and making it celebratory.

Twitter launched that spot during the Super Bowl, then on social media P&G asked people what it means to be ‘Like a Girl’. You saw in the summer when the US women’s team won the World Cup people were once again using the Like A Girl hash tag. The Super Bowl was just the kick off and there was then continuity throughout the year around that campaign. I like this idea of stories just starting at the Super Bowl as opposed to isolated, one-off storytelling.

How big a role will emojis play in Super Bowl 50?

New emojis will be leveraged as a tool for connection with consumers and discovery but also a way to deliver delight in the moment. People come to Twitter for three reasons – human connection, self expression and content discovery. We know some people love to create and others consume. We make it easier for people to express themselves, and emojis are a fun way for people to reveal their feelings and brands to be shared into conversations.

The Share a Coke emoji worked well and was a smart way for Coke to extend their campaign. I can only see see emojis continuing to grow in momentum over the next year.

woman twitter
Twitter’s director of content planning Stacy Minero is confident it can make a difference to brands for Super Bowl 2016

With rivals such as Snapchat and Google strengthening, is it getting tougher for Twitter to stand out around live events?

Different platforms serve different purposes. Certain platforms have super powers and one of Twitter’s is relevance during live events. The ability to enable these shared connections and live moments is our core point of difference. Can other platforms add value during a live event like the Super Bowl? I’m sure they can, but it isn’t their core strength like it is at Twitter.

Brands realise Twitter is a live connection to culture and they think of Twitter as the platform to activate on to capitalise on these live moments. We’re always mindful of the competition but we are focused on what creates value for both the brand and the consumer to create a mutual advantage. We recently built something called event targeting. It means there is a clickable calendar of events where you can go in and look at the social conversations and demographics around an event like the Super Bowl the last time it happened.

“In order to drive differentiation, we have been advancing the creative canvas and evolving our toolkit to make it easier for brands to plan and buy on twitter”.

What do you think the biggest marketing trends will be during this year’s Super Bowl?

We are going to see the combination of these integrated campaigns with big celebrities and brands doing non-traditional marketing using social influencers to connect to their audience.

Autoplay will play a big role as you now have ability not just to push out the same 30-second spot that already ran on air but also think about the continuation of that story or publish gifs that post frames from the best moments of your long-form content. We are seeing a big rise in gifs around live events as they are almost like a mini Vine. It is a fun light touch way to connect with the audience. There is also going to be more integrated campaigns that have that thunder clap moment; some sort of collective call to action. Much like P&G and ‘Like A Girl’, brands are seeing the benefits from a movement or purpose-driven campaign.

I don’t know if celebrities are ever going to be the sunset of a strategy. It is the way you use them that is key and not whether or not you are simply leveraging them.

Nike and its ‘Snow Day’ campaign is a great example of how to use celebrities properly. It has 20 athletes that are basically playing in the snow on a day off and they shot a two-minute spot, which they then cut into 15 vines featuring individual athletes. The way brands are using celebrities is evolving. Brands are waking up to social media influencers like a Cody Johns as they realise he knows how to make content native to Twitter. It isn’t a either or situation. Coca Cola is using Cody Johns but it also has a big deal with Taylor Swift on Diet Coke. It is now about having real balance when it comes to celebrity endorsements.


Super Bowl 2016: Brands turn to social for added value

Thomas Hobbs

With a record 114.4 million Americans tuning into last year’s match, it’s clear the Super Bowl remains a huge draw for advertisers. However, with Super Bowl ad slots now pricier than ever before, many brands are changing the way they advertise around US sport’s biggest event.


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