Road To The Social Media Super Bowl
There is rarely a moment in our lives where you plan for success and when the moment arrives, it succeeds beyond your wildest dreams and prayers.
That moment happened during Super Bowl XLVIII when I had the honor to partake in a campaign launch with a group of wickedly talented and passionate marketers when our RadioShack Super Bowl commercial debuted to over 111.5 Million people on national TV and then immediately following up with a multi-channel marketing campaign driven by social media conversation.
Outside of a small group of people that worked directly on the TV commercial and supporting the campaign, it was shock and awe. It was the moment where we wanted to reintroduce RadioShack on the grandest stage possible. It was the moment where we wanted to have everyone hear “The Phone Call”.
We were one of 30 other brands that had a TV Commercial during the Super Bowl. We all wanted to win the moment. However, no one knew that RadioShack was going to have a commercial during the Super Bowl. We weren’t going to release a “teaser” or “trailer” video. There was no “coming 2.2.14” website. We were not only underdogs, but underdogs that no one expected to be at the party. We had to stand out. Not only stand out, but chart a solid game plan to strategically capture the moment and fuel it not by our own words, but by the words of those watching on the “second screen”. Which in 2014 starts and ends with Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Forums, and anywhere else someone can share and call out what resonated with them from the TV commercial.
There was a lot of emotion and anticipation from all of us who worked on the campaign. We had crafted a strategy and planned a road to our Super Bowl moment.
The moment came on Sunday February 2, 2014 approximately at 6:19 PM CST. Those of us that had the responsibility to introduce the TV commercial to the digital world were ready. All 15 of us in the Digital Command Center near downtown Dallas and many more that dialed in. Our goal was to go live online in 30 seconds. This was the exact time of the commercial. That was the moment that we had the attention of the world. It was the moment we were going to fan the spark and turn it into a flame.
It happened. We did it together.
The tweets and social mentions began to pour in. From existing fans, new fans, celebrities, media and people that in the past had forgotten RadioShack. Within the first 30 minutes we had a 90+% positive mentions online according to Topsy.com
In that moment we knew that the road we had planned and executed came together and over delivered beyond what we could have anticipated. CNN named RadioShack as one of the Top 10 Social Media moments of the Super Bowl.
Nielsen Most Liked Super Bowl Commercial
The Adobe Digital Index measured all 30 Super Bowl advertisers and out of all ads RadioShack was the social media winner with 22x increase in online mentions.
From a financial standpoint the nextday on Monday, despite the DOW falling over 320 points, the Wall Street Journal published the headline: “Super Bowl Advertising Apparently Works: RadioShack Shares Jump“.
We continued to fuel the social media conversation and even after 3 days Nielsen published results that RadioShack was the Nr. 1 Most Liked Commercial of Super Bowl XLVIII.
This road had certain key elements that helped define that moment. It was our road to the social media Super Bowl.
I realize winning the social media moment on the grandest stage of the Super Bowl is not something that happens every day. As marketers in various business verticals we each have our moment that we want to seize. What worked for us is a solid road map to enable that moment. Some practical key takeaways that helped ensure a solid road map to that success are listed below.
I will use football analogies to tie into the Super Bowl moment.
1. Watch The Tape:
We started weeks in advance in preparing for the moment. Once we knew that we would have a TV commercial and creative was approved, we moved to make sure Twitter was the main point of conversation. We went back and forth in brainstorms and POV’s if we should use a hashtag, website URL, or something else. The trend was to have a hashtag at the end of the spot. This was true since 57% of advertisers in 2014 had a hashtag at end of their commercial. From an objective standpoint we wanted to drive directly to Twitter and be able to adjust the conversation according to what evolved once the spot aired. Having a permanent hashtag in paid media becomes a huge risk in the case of the conversation turning negative. Allowing the viewer to go to our Twitter @RadioShack profile provided us an opportunity to introduce them to the extended conversation.
2. Have Multiple Plays in the Game Plan
In order to be ready for a social media moment, we not only had to have the execution plan in a step by step checklist, we needed to think through and have a response for, real time marketing opportunities, a crisis situation, weather conditions, and multiple other real world scenarios.
3. Assemble the Team
Currently our RadioShack social media marketing team consists of only 3 people. In order to support a surge in mentions and engagements, we not only needed additional community managers but creative designers, copywriters, PR support, paid media, search, SEO, and integrated marketing and agency leads. In order for social media to work, we needed to be integrated throughout the entire digital journey on the second screen with a common message.
4. Practice. Who Needs Practice?
We did. You do. Once we had our plan in place and checklist identified, we had a goal. We needed to launch the multi-channel digital and social experience within 30 seconds. The exact time the spot was shown and when people were going to go online and engage. Anything less than 30 seconds was a failure to the second screen engagement. When we were in our Digital Command Center, the message was clear since we didn’t know the exact time the spot air. We needed to be hyper ready. We had 5 seconds to freak out that the spot aired and 25 seconds to execute. No one left their position. Everyone had their browser tabs open. We rehearsed this multiple times with a stop watch. After several tries, our best time was under 30 seconds.
5. Execute Key Play Flawlessly.
When the spot aired earlier than expected toward the end of the 1st Quarter of the game, we are ready. The signal was given and in 30 seconds all 15 of us in the Digital Command Center went live. We checked and double checked each channel for any issues. One by one we checked off every person as the shouted that they completed their role. This flawless execution cannot go unmentioned. It was the moment that we had planned, rehearsed, and lost sleep over for the previous weeks. Once we were live we weren’t done. We needed to continue to push the pedal. We were now on our road to winning the Super Bowl of marketing and we needed to fuel the conversation and capture the moment.
6. Run and Gun Offense.
Our social efforts were to use iconic 80’s products as symbolic prize giveaways to our fans. We wanted to have multiple products from the 80’s that spoke to different niche communities. In a social media strategy, many times the tactics only speak to one audience. By providing a variety of opportunities to engage it helped us be relevant not only during the Super Bowl but for the next 24 hours when the Super Bowl conversation continued. We were there. We were on offense and continuing to create and drive engagements. It wasn’t only for that moment but beyond. We were running with every new product that was revealed. Promoting key content that was trending to shoot through every opportunity.
7. Post-Game Huddle
In the moment after a win, take the time to celebrate. We celebrated as a team but quickly huddled to make sure we didn’t become complacent. As the conversation swelled, we looked at our data and reports to adjust our efforts according to what was trending. This way we continued to stay relevant and react to ensure the engagements continued. Each stakeholder in a consistent pre-communicated timing shared reporting of performance and optimization insights. We looked at our benchmarks and reported each KPI to key stakeholders.
To wrap things up, these 7 steps helped us on our road to the social media Super Bowl, it was a great win but it is only the start of our efforts at RadioShack to turn around our overall business and help RadioShack become relevant and a destination once again as it once was. There is a solid Executive leadership in place that is focused, determined, passionate and is an inspiration.
As we move forward to the next chapter, it’s amazing to see how Social @RadioShack has evolved over the years and big wins like the Super Bowl and smaller wins that help drive our business are critical to each step.