SMS Superbowl Case Studies & Not…

NFL Rewind SMS marketing tips tricks mobile agency

Looking back on the Super Bowl Commercials & mObile campaigns this year results in an unsatisfactory experience, at least for me.  Here are a few mObile calls to action that were used in an effective manner, & some potential lost opportunities.

The NFL had a couple nice CTA’s during the game to build its SMS database.  Texting keywords such as MVP & REWIND to the short code 55171 were utilized to have viewers vote for the Super Bowl MVP & get back a return URL to sign up for NFL REWIND which lets you watch every NFL game, playoff game, & super bowl in HD, on your pc, or tablet.  When you tap on the link in the text message, it eventually gets to a mObile optimized website which gives you this message…

NFL Rewind Disclaimer

Say what?!  Is it just me or is the NFL a little stingy with their content?  So, let me get this straight:  I can use the NFL mObile App & get live content & games on my smart phone, but I can’t get old games played on my smart phone?  Not that I want to watch old games on my smart phone, but what the hell, I should have the option!

This SMS campaign was a great idea to get consumers to opt-in at the peak of their interest.  Plus, if they can sell a few memberships to their online streaming service to keep fans engaged during the off-season, then it’s a win-win for everybody.  Execution was pretty well, but for the non-smart phone NFL Rewind content, I give the NFL an A- for this one.

Pepsi had an interesting proposition for consumers during the game.  They prompted everyone to go to (which seems to have a responsive design for mObile) to receive a free 2 Liter Bottle of PepsiNEXT.  They only did this for the first 1 million people, so it was a first come first serve limited time thing.  The scarcity method worked perfectly here as you can imagine they probably hit that mark pretty quickly.  Pepsi also had nice sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube.  The only thing I didn’t like was that it had no SMS opt-in here.  This is possibly the best place to put an opt-in CTA if there was ever one.  Why not build a database AND give away a free coupon?!  I realize they prompted consumers for more information to receive the actual coupon but I would of made it super simple:

  Text NEXT to 12345 for a FREE 2 Liter Bottle of PepsiNEXT!
BAM! Done.  Then, later on, you could still send them other relevant offers & use special features like text polls, contests, & social media to keep them engaged.  I give Pepsi a B+ on this one.

Jack In The Box which already has an SMS program, had no CTA for consumers.  Instead, they chose to use Shazam promoting the Hot Mess burger.  They prompted users to open the app whilst their watching the commercial on tv.  (seems a bit unrealistic to me, I mean you gotta be quick!)  If I don’t have the phone already there & can hit that Shazam app to tag the music from the tv, then the opportunity is gone.  Shazaming or tagging the commercial led to restaurant’s nearest locations, they test their drum skills, & download wallpapers that link to the Jack In The Box mObile website.  It is a nice mObile site with great content from the Meat Riot band who sings the “Hot Mess” song in the commercial.  I give props for all this content which is a nice throwback to the 80’s.  Can anyone say targeting demographic nostalgia?  I don’t understand why they couldn’t of used SMS or even MMS as a CTA to get consumers opted-into a database.  Then, they could blast out coupons, offers, & also the link for the commercial that they could Shazam.  After all, it was released before the game anyways.  Using only a specific mObile app severely limits the amount of cell phone owners that will be able to participate.  I give Jack In The Box a C+ on this one.  Ok ok ok, maybe a B- for the Meat Riot “Hot Mess” campaign because it brings back so many memories!

Aside from the power outage, (which I thought was cool) the game was entertaining if you forget about the lousy Refereeing job.  It almost seemed fixed to me, with so many penalties being called on the 49ers & not the Ravens.  That is a discussion that will forever be stuck at the Harbaugh family dinner table!  “You cheated!”  “Did not!”  Ouch.  Oreo had a great night on Twitter & possibly the best response to the power outage.

There’s also a huge debate about whether or not brands should be posting their commercials online before the Super Bowl airs.  I like to be surprised but I understand why they do it: for the social media interaction of course.  Here’s a great article about the pros & cons of releasing commercials online before the big game.  Whether or not you believe it helps or hurt the brands, you should see these statistics:  Super Bowl Commercials Still Draw Their Own Audience.

Unfortunately this year, big brands didn’t utilize SMS as much as I’d hoped.  I realize that a CTA might not be right for every single commercial but why would any company pay $3.8 million buckaroos & not try to capture at least some of those mObile phone numbers?  I know I would.  Last week I mentioned how 2 charities executed great SMS donation campaigns.  Take a look at this article where the author talks about how only a small percentage of people completed a follow up action to a Super Bowl ad.  Maybe that’s because most of the action was on social & mObile apps.  Again, mObile apps are great!  But if people don’t use them consistently…they become worthless.  Which is also why there’s so much fragmentation in the mObile space.  People keep jumping from one hip trendy app to the next.  That’s another reason why I don’t think SMS/MMS is going anywhere.  You can reach any phone, any where, & at any time on the planet.

I could go on & on about how this & that company could’ve used SMS but the fact is, most chose not to.  The sad fact about all of this is that we’re still only at 54% of smart phone penetration in the US market.  That means that when brands spend $3.8 million bucks on a Super Bowl Ad, & prompt consumers to download & use their mObile app, they are leaving out half of the cell phone users in the country.  My solution would be simple…use both!  Yes, that’s right I said use a mObile app (if you can afford to), & an SMS database loyalty program.  That way, a company could capture smart phone users, as well as feature phone users.

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