In 2012, the concept of second-screen ads was something of a novelty and treated with the same sort of ROI expectations as a mid-90’s tech start-up. Does it work? Great. Did it makes it’s money back? Well...
Last year, we saw an app from Chevrolet that engaged users with a contest to win a Camero and a Coca-Cola Facebook page that allowed users to interact with the brand’s trademark polar bears. This year, we can be certain of seeing neither, since GM isn’t advertising at the Super Bowl and Coca-Cola has said there will be no polar bears this year.
This Super Bowl is going to be much less forgiving of second-screen ad campaigns, as the new car smell has worn off and gimmicks won’t cut it. It’s time to see what this ad strategy can really do. If it’s as effective as some think, then it’s only a matter of time before scripted shows begin playing to the second screen, in addition to live broadcast events like the Super Bowl.
But we are not quite there yet, and clearly the first place for testing out the real-world feasibility of something like this is with a live event with a large audience and a correspondingly large ad budget, like the Super Bowl.
In 2012, NBC was the first ever broadcaster to live-stream the Super Bowl, which reached 2.1 million unique viewers. In 2013, CBS is trying to build on NBC’s success with its CBS Connect iPad app. For the Super Bowl, CBS is planning to offer alternate camera angles, real time statistics and social media engagement.
Oh, and did we mention second-screen Beyonce? For some reason, NBC didn’t broadcast the halftime show on its second screen, so that makes CBS’s Super Bowl Halftime show the first ever to be second screened.
Advertisers are excited - the second-screen ad spots are sold out. So what will we see this year? What we’ve been looking for is seamless TV/second-screen integration; will we see that this year? It looks likely.
Star Trek Trailer
Paramount Pictures is promoting its upcoming release of Star Trek: Into the Darkness with an app that will be available for download a week before the Super Bowl with the standard interactive bells and whistles but also, new things: using audio recognition, the app will spring to life when the Star Trek trailer runs in the second quarter of the Super Bowl to feed fans with exclusive and interactive content - that’s a Super Bowl second screen first.
We know Shazam as one of the first generation apps for the very first iPhone. It has kept itself relevant by continuing to reinvent itself. No longer just an app that recognizes songs, Shazam is now working on complete TV integration that includes TV commercial recognition, making those commercials shazam-able. What the second-screen environment has been missing is TV-plus-mobile-device interactivity; Shazam is about to fix that problem - on Super Bowl Sunday. If it’s engaging and seamless, then advertising might never be the same again. We'll be watching.