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SG Insights

Insights on tech media, PR, content and social media
Feb 22 '12

Super Bowl Can Be As Good for PR as It Is for Commercials

By Scott Sutherland

Very few events are as target-rich for creative PR than the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl continues to elicit massive coverage online, offline and on air. And the public’s appetite and interest for coverage of the game, the commercials and how they ranked is almost limitless.

So we decided to help our client Velti exploit this massive coverage and powerful audience interest. As we’ve done many times in the past, we worked with our partners at Harris Interactive to craft and execute a survey.

The key to having success with surveys is really knowing how to write good questions. And writing good questions really requires an intuitive sense on what kind of information the media is really searching for.

We were pretty sure this would be the year when the “Second Screen” phenomenon broke into the Super Bowl conversation. So, the week prior to the game, we crafted a survey that probed into how consumers expected to use their mobile devices during the game. Clearly, we were hoping the survey would show that consumers now see mobile phones as essential to their Super Bowl viewing experience.

What we learned surprised even us. Key findings in the research that got the most media attention seemed to be:

  • 83% of viewers who planned to use their mobile device expected to use it as much or more than they did during last year’s Super Bowl.
  •  30% of viewers under the age of 45 planned to watch the game with their device in hand.
  •  About half (47%) of all viewers age 18 and older said they expected to check or use their device up to 10 times during the game.
  •  During the famous — and sometimes infamous — halftime show, men were twice as likely as women (26% vs. 13%) to say they planned to turn their attention to their mobile devices.

Coverage of the survey results was pretty massive, including pieces in USA Today, Mashable, AFP and many, many more. It’s much tougher to very effectively measure coverage outside the U.S., but the AFP coverage was critical since our client serves clients around the world. Here’s a breakdown:

Number of Original Stories: 27

Number of Syndicated Posts: 42

Twitter Mentions:  1,633

Facebook Mentions:  347

LinkedIn Mentions: 374

Number of Press Release Pickups: 472

It was also interesting to see how the different social channels were used to distribute stories. Not surprisingly, Twitter was by far the most active distribution channel with 1,149 Tweets or Re-Tweets of media stories. What was surprising was  that the story was shared more frequently on LinkedIn than on Facebook.

Important Publications by Number of Mentions and Social Network

Facebook (Mentions)

CNN (148)

Mashable (82)

USA Today (47)

Twitter (Mentions)

Mashable (929)

USA Today (130)

CNN & AFP (tied) (90)

LinkedIn (Mentions)

Mashable (222)

Media Post (42)

Bloomberg (35)

Bloomberg and Media Post got more distribution on LinkedIn than USA Today or CNN. We were surprised also at the significant difference in number of shares of the Mashable post on Twitter versus Facebook. Mashable got more than 10 times the shares on Twitter than it did on Facebook. And USA Today got almost twice as many shares on Twitter than Facebook.

Not our first time at the Big Game…

At SG, we have a long history of executing successful creative programs around the Super Bowl. TiVo was actually SG’s very first client, and about ten years ago, we developed TiVo’s Super Bowl commercial report. The report measures audience engagement on commercials in households with TiVo, and has since become one of the premier reports of which commercials are the real winners of the game, every year.

I remember driving back from Tahoe after the infamous Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction.” I was on the phone with the TiVo data folks who were arguing they did not even want to pull the data measurement on it because they thought it was too unseemly.

Fortunately, we won them over! The PR around the TiVo measurement that showed it was the most replayed segment in Super Bowl history - and probably got the most earned media TiVo had ever recorded at that point in the company’s history.