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What Would Stephen Do? (WWSD): Five Social Media Solutions for Super Bowl XLVII

Not Steve Jobs! Stephen Chukumba! What Would Stephen (Chukumba) Do?!

So I’ve spent the past two days bitchin’ and complaining engaged in thoughtful dialogue about what advertisers did wrong with their Super Bowl commercials, from a social media perspective.

Sure, I was disappointed, but what would I do differently, if any of those brands had hired me or my firm to manage their social media efforts?

So without further ado, What Would Stephen Do (WWSD) to make Super Bowl XLVII commercials more socially engaging?

1.  Seed. If you’re a marketer, you knew that the ads that ran during the Super Bowl were available before the big game. Only a select few knew this. Why? Why not make these commercials available to your active social media audience?

Everyone who has ‘liked’ your Facebook page, followed you on Twitter or belonged to any of your social media networks should have received a private message letting them know that the commercial was going to be available before the game.

They should have been encouraged to give their feedback and share, share, share! In this way, advertisers would have given their loyal followers exclusive, first-look access, and built valuable in-roads with folks who were already interested and advocates of their brands.

For Super Bowl XLVII, I’d make sure that I seeded my audience with snippets, trailers, teasers, sizzle reels, behind-the-scenes, and other exclusive content to prime them for the big show.

2.  Give Explicit Calls To Action. One of the greatest issues I had with the commercials which aired Sunday, was the absolute lack of clear calls to action. What <brand name here> did you want me, the viewer, to do?

Hey Chevy! You and your apocalypse ad. Was I supposed to stock up on Twinkies? I know you want me to buy your cars, but you could tell me to visit your Facebook page, website or something!

I would have explicit calls to action included in all my commercials. I.e. “Text CHEVY to 37619 from your mobile device to schedule a test drive.” Or “‘Like’ Chevy on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chevy to learn more abou the new Silverado.” Or “Visit us on YouTube at http://youtu.be/XxFYYP8040A to watch our Silverado Super Bowl ad and share it with your friends!”

3. Rewards & Giveaways. You’ve got to give something to get something. In social media, the law of reciprocity is understood. So if I were advising any of these brands, I would make rewards and giveaways an explicit part of my strategy.

Several brands integrated Shazam into their commercials. If you used Shazam to find out the title and artist of the song in the commercial, I <brand name here> would send you the song as a free download.

Everyone who “liked” my car company on Facebook would be offered a free test drive. “Like” my beverage or snack company and get a coupon for a free sample. Tweet my hashtag, and get a discount when you file your next tax return with my company or register for insurance.

There is no greater way to build brand loyalty, than to give things away. And give sh*t away, we would!

4.   Contests. The NFL was the only brand that understood the inherent value of running a contest. The commercial for the NFL Perfect Fantasy promotion, ran throughout the Super Bowl, was the only contest from any of the brands.

If I were advising a car manufacturer, the contest would have given a way a new vehicle (or a lease for a year). A food, beverage or snack brand, free beverages/snacks for life. Tax brand, free tax preparation. Clothing retailer, free wardrobe. Insurance company, no premium policy.

I could go on and on.

Regardless of the brand, I would incentivize social media participation and sharing with a contest.

5.  Polling. One clear opportunity that was lost to everyone who aired a commercial during the Super Bowl, was the chance to find out what their audiences thought.

Did you like the first quarter? First half? Half-time show? Our commercial? Our product? The Super Bowl? Who do you think is going to win? What do you think the score will be? Who do you think will be the game’s MVP?

Anyone/everyone could have asked probing, insightful, or humorous questions easily.

Aside (one again) from the NFL, which asked people to vote for the MVP of the game, there were absolutely NO POLLS. WTF!

With people sitting captive for over four hours watching the game, WITH THEIR CONNECTED DEVICES (which they were obviously using the entire time!!!) not one brand thought, “Hmmm…maybe we should ask them what they think about our <fill in the name of your innocuous product here>?”

I would ask questions until I was blue (no pun intended, but completely apropos) in the face!

So there!

I’ve said it!

If you had hired me <name of brand that didn’t hire me here>, I would have given you far more run for your money, AND you would have incalculably valuable data THAT YOU COULD IMMEDIATELY ACT UPON to boot.

So next year, make sure I’m on your short list.

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, rant, Smack talking, social media, technology

QR Codes are cool!

I generated this QR Code using QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project.

If you’re not up on anything that’s happening in the digital world, you probably haven’t peeped QR codes.

Although you’ve probably seen these weird squiggly things on business cards, flyers or maybe even the last time you went shopping at Macy’s, it probably escaped you that these little boxes were the wave of the future.

What is a QR Code?

Well Wikipedia describes a QR Code (short for Quick Response) as a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

The QR code above was generated using a free online QR code generator. To see what’s encoded, you’ve got to:

1.  Have a QR reader on your phone. If you’ve got an iPhone, I recommend QRReader. *Download it to your device.

2.  Open your QR reader on your device. If it seems like you’ve turned on your camera, it’s ok. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

3.  Point your camera at the QR reader until it’s centered on the screen.

4.  Watch the magic happen!

You can do really cool things with QR codes beyond simply sharing your information.

For example, you can launch a video, send text, trigger an SMS or direct viewers to a URL.

Here are a few more that I think you’ll enjoy:

Point your phone at this QR code for a sexy experience.

In this example our QR code launches a video on Vimeo of a short film produced by Firststar Films/Viral Cinema for Black Box a custom accessories boutique in Tribeca.

QR Codes can be used to generate text messages too!

Although this is just a sample, QR codes can generate real SMS/text messages, delivered right to your phone.

QR codes can trigger much more sophisticated actions, beyond simply opening a URL or driving simple text messages. In fact Google’s mobile Android operating system incorporates QR readers natively into it’s architecture, allowing it to trigger more complex processes.

Brands are only starting to flirt with QR codes in the States, but I project that as they start to proliferate, you’ll find more exotic and innovative things being done.

I hope this has been instructive, and feel free to reach out to me if you’ve got questions on QR codes, mobile, apps or whatever!

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Filed under mobile, technology