observations from my social (media) super bowl

2013 marked the third year in a row that Best Buy has had a TV advertisement air during the Super Bowl. Two years ago it was the spot that featured Ozzy and the Biebs. Last year, our TV commercial focused on technology entrepreneurs that created new innovations or applications for smart phones such as the folks behind Instagram, Square, Words with Friends and Shazam. For this year’s Super Bowl, SNL alumnus and current “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler was featured in the Best Buy commercial.

While our marketing plans for Super Bowl were not super (no pun intended) intense when it came to social media activity on game day, there was enough going on to warrant my team getting together and working during the game. Since we don’t have a social media command center at the Best Buy corporate office, my team and I had a few options to consider when figuring out where we were going to work.

2013-02-03 19.03.16

One was to hunker down in a meeting room over at the Sandcrawlers; we decided not to go that route because working at the office would be too sterile of an environment for the biggest of all football games. Our second option was to go to a sports bar that had a bunch of TV’s and free Wi-Fi; however, since I couldn’t really endorse drinking while on the job that wasn’t an option. So we went with the third option: hang out at my house and turn my living room into a temporary social media war room. You can get a feel of the scene from the picture, but all told between the four of us we had five laptops, two tablets, four smartphones and wireless signals available both from my home wi-fi network as well as from a 4G wireless hotspot. It was somewhat technology overload and almost comical to behold. All-in-all, even though we worked hard for nearly six hours on a Sunday I think we had a fun time.

On Monday I read a ton of mainstream news pieces and trade articles about which brands won big in social media during Super Bowl 47, about which brands didn’t take advantage of the opportunity and about which brands just plain stunk. Instead of playing armchair quarterback (ok, maybe this pun is slightly intended) on what other brands did or didn’t do well, I thought I’d share my observations and insights as someone that was on the social media front lines Sunday night while working that game-within-the-game of marketing during the Super Bowl itself.

You need to have a gameplan: multiple sets of eyes, multiple sets of tools and a plan of attack

My team had a division of labor going into the day: we knew who was doing what. (Coral and Jason were on the front lines of engagement. Derek and I were responsible for monitoring.) We had outlined ahead of time what we were looking for and where we were looking for it. We had our technology and tools in place – aside from the various laptops and tablets, we had engagement platforms, social listening tools and content publishing systems among other things all teed up and ready to go. The media and creative agencies were on call in Seattle and Boulder respectively in case we needed them. Not only did this preparation help things run smoothly but they also enabled us to be ready for any breaking news that happened during the game itself. (#PowerOutage anyone?)

At certain times, in person collaboration can’t be beat

In a day in age when you can stay connected to colleagues and work together virtually (e-mail, text message, instant message, group instant message, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) it is easy to think that you don’t necessarily have to be working in the same room together. But I truly believe there are certain instances where working virtually does not produce the same quality of work as when you are in the same room and can just turn to talk to some one. There were things we observed during the game, ideas we discussed and decisions we made on the fly that could not have done if we weren’t right there next to each other. Sometimes you can’t do better than talking and collaborating with other people in the same room. This is especially true when the work is happening extremely fast like it was during the Super Bowl.

Just because the conversation moves fast, that doesn’t mean you should forget about your objectives

The vast majority of customer commentary during the Super Bowl happens on Twitter. When we turned our attention to the stream of Tweets coming through once the Best Buy commercial was done showing, it was amazing to see how fast the feed of information was flowing and how many comments there were. It was difficult to keep up – but you felt a mini-rush of sorts. It’s like I couldn’t help but get excited to hop in and start working. There aren’t many marketing activities that move in real time like the way social media does. But I found that it was also easy to get caught up in that rush. You can be moving so quickly that you can forget about what you are trying to accomplish. I was proud to notice that there were a couple of moments during the game where my team found ourselves moving so fast that we actually paused a bit. We took a moment to catch our breath and discuss some situations to figure out what we would do, how we wanted to handle them and how that would support the campaign. That was to nice to observe in the moment itself and for us to take into our work going forward.


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