Just a few days ago, the last episodes of my favorite television show have started airing. You have probably seen Mad Men, if not because you actually like it, then only to see what the hype was all about. The show follows the life of Don Draper, an ad man from 60’s (and later 70’s) New York.
During the show he has come up with some of the most iconic ads to date, alongside his associate Peggy. Those two always get that perfect idea that will have the desired effect on the consumers. If you watch the show, you already know that.
However, I am not so sure that Don Draper would be as big of an advertising icon if he somehow started out today.
The advertisement world has changed vastly since the 1960’s. It is a lot bigger. It is incredibly fiercer.
It is definitely not just about the perfect idea. There is a lot more science to it. There has been a shift in age groups that products are being targeted to, as well as an increase in marketing and advertising budgets.
But most importantly, the birth of Internet and social networks has changed the game completely.
“The Cannes Festival of TV ads”, the Super Bowl, now held every first Sunday in February, is the most watched TV broadcast in the United States and the day itself is considered an unofficial American holiday.
Alongside the familial overeating, the half-time performances of the biggest pop-stars of today, with the likes of Madonna, Katy Perry and Beyoncé, and the sports itself, Super Bowl Commercials have become an institution of its sorts.
The Super Bowl Ads And The Science Behind Their Success
Super Bowl would be absolutely unimaginable without the commercials.
The price speaks for itself. In last 10 years, the Super Bowl has earned more than $2 billion dollars in advertising sales.
A single minute of air time in the commercial slot is worth a whopping $9 million as of this year.
That is only for the air time. Some of the advertisers spend up to tens of millions of dollars just for the making of their TV spots. You would think they would give their best that the video they release is really good.
The advertisers try, but not all of their attempts are equally successful.
That is why the team behind Unruly Labs has dived into the matter and analysed what made Super Bowl commercials great. They broke advertising down to simple science, not just lucky guesses.
Those of you who pay attention can later apply the knowledge elsewhere, not just Super Bowl ads.
Replicating The Success On Social Media
One of the most important aspects of any campaign nowadays is something that 60’s Donald Draper never had to think about.
Social networks and social sharing are what matters now. [Tweet “Social video is the fastest growing advertising channel”] And if you do not have a strong online presence, you do not exist in the advertising world.
So, making a TV commercial is one thing, but making it popular on the web is taking the advertising game to a whole different level.
A commercial’s impact is not only seen as the number of people who have passively seen it on TV, but also as the number of people who have shared the commercial voluntarily and the people who chose to view it online.
It is proven that the people who have actually chosen to watch the ad instead of just seeing it on TV react more effectively to it.
They are more prone to buying the product that is being marketed and they will talk about the commercial (and the product at the same time) more than passive TV viewers.
Also, they are more likely to search for the product online, go to the company’s web-page and even enjoy the commercial itself.
This is based on a more interactive approach to advertising, in which the consumers actually have stronger emotions towards a well-advertised product or company.
There has been proof that video enjoyment is the key to larger sales profits. [Tweet “People who have enjoyed the video purchased with +97% more products than those who did not.”]
And that is what ROI is all about after all. A more effective return per investment.
When making a commercial, be aware of what you target group is and what they are most likely to enjoy. Having a hit online video amongst the wrong target group will not help that much.
According to this team, they can concoct a recipe for a successful commercial by using the data gained from the study.
What is more important:
You can now predict how the ad will do on the Internet.
[Tweet “Videos that produce strong positive emotions are 3 times more likely to be shared on social media “]
The Virality Factors
Maybe the best know recipe is including hilarity and the element of surprise in the commercial. However, that combination can easily go the wrong way with the audience. People are mostly jaded to weaker attempts and audiences only react strongly to exceptionally funny (hilarious) videos.
Sometimes it might be best to go the opposite way and stand out in the crowd. That is exactly what the Unruly suggest. Refocus on something that the public will find fresh.
Going with a different emotional trigger is definite must-do when making a ground-breaking commercial that you want to be shared with everyone. The most successful ads in terms of social sharing are those ads which produced the desired emotional effect of warmth, pride, happiness and awe.
These ads also need to embody key social elements like attention grabbing, shared emotional response and zeitgeist, which brings us to the other must-do.
Give your audience an incentive to share your video free of will. This should be based on the preferably strong and emotional reaction the video brings out from people and the multiple reasons they would want to share the same experience with others.
[Tweet “Great commercials are just that, half-a-minute emotional roller-coasters and sensory experiences.”]
Other points that need to be made are paying attention to things like storyline or music background, which enrich the watching experience.
When taking all these factors into consideration, commercial videos can be placed into 4 categories. The following are:
- Unruly Viral Video Chart Topper – videos that are going to trend on multiple platforms, due to both their ability to elicit emotional response and their social shareability.
- Extremely Sociable – videos that are shared based on a strong social motivation, but lacking a strong emotional connotation.
- Made for TV – videos which are not designed for social sharing or lacking any sharing appeal.
- Emotional Wringer – videos that move you emotionally, but leave with absolutely no desire to share them.
You want your commercial to be either Extremely Sociable or an Unruly Viral Video Chart Topper.
After making a carefully thought-through video campaign, you need to think about placement. It is not only where (The Super Bowl for example), but more importantly when to start dispersing.
With viral peak lasting 3 short days, and data showing the highest sharing numbers happen Wednesday through Friday, with Wednesday holding the first spot, it is advised to launch your content on those days.
I don’t really think Don Draper needed to know all this, but you do so now you have at least an idea about what you need to do to create a truly viral piece of content.