How to Turn a Super Bowl Ad Into a Campaign for the Mobile Era

Facebook's Andrew Keller shares 4 tips

Today's best Super Bowl ads create a story that can extend into social and engage fans directly. Getty Images
Headshot of Andrew Keller

With Super Bowl LII fast approaching, there’s no doubt that creatives have been putting their heads together to come up with what they hope will be the year’s most talked-about Super Bowl commercial.

However, in today’s world, it’s not enough to simply develop a compelling spot for game day. As the role of digital and mobile has grown, the importance of investing in these distribution channels and platforms has also grown. A TV ad is no longer just that; it’s an opportunity to expand the world of that ad across different mobile and digital channels.

While many would like to embrace this, brands can feel challenged by the task of creating impactful mobile content, particularly given the current traditional production model.

Here are a few ideas to leverage the many opportunities to achieve mobile excellence:

Make your big idea even bigger

Instead of focusing on creating one TV spot, think about the broader story you’re telling and leverage mobile as an opportunity to expand it. You can take parts of your original spot, a moment, or even a character, and build on it.

By continuing a character’s storyline on digital, mobile-first content extends your narrative in a new way. For instance, tell the story of where the Mountain Dew puppy monkey baby came from, or let people message with one of the mindless masses from the Apple 1984 spot. By releasing this exclusive content strictly for mobile users, you give them an inside look, with details on characters or new storylines that others may not see.

Create content that matches consumption behavior

People’s behavior and expectations on mobile continue to evolve, so understanding what to make for mobile starts with recognizing these new behaviors and expectations.

For example, most TV commercials have a linear story arc, revealing brand or benefit only at the end. With the scrolling speed of mobile averaging at 1.7 seconds, it’s worth rethinking the first few seconds to capture attention quickly. Create dimension in your campaign by considering how people consume mobile content, whether it’s immediate (on the go), interactive (lean forward) or immersive (lean back).

Don’t cut your 60-second spot down to six seconds. But do create a “where’s the beef?” GIF or an AR tool that turns you into Betty White when you hold a Snickers.

Preplan by storyboarding for mobile

Plan ahead to capture what you need well in advance by creating a vertical or mobile storyboard. The Super Bowl offers a unique opportunity to create content for platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but you should consider multiple frameworks and formats to reach your audience.

Storyboarding for mobile—vertical, square or both—is key. Think about how you will cater to viewers watching without sound. What artwork, titles or supers would be best? Are there any expressive stickers or native Instagram Story creative tools you can use to stand out? Are you planning to do something with the Instagram swipe-up functionality?

You will also need to connect with your producer preshoot to ensure you have all of the talent agreements and rights and that contracts for both talent and production incorporate digital usage.

Be resourceful on set

Taking advantage of downtime is a unique way to gather content quickly and easily. Try to plan your shoots while a certain character, scene or prop isn’t being used. This allows you to build out mobile content more easily, as you will already have all necessary elements in one spot. Why not take full advantage of it?

A great example is from a Nike golf shoot, when they shot Tiger Woods “juggling” a golf ball on his club. It was a quick moment they captured, but it turned out to be one of Nike’s most iconic ads. You can also consider having a second unit with different equipment to create a unique experience like 360 video during the shoot. This ensures you are prepared to capture the content you need in the format you need at any given moment.

Even if you’ve already shot and edited your spot, there are still ways to leverage that amazing content—whether using the approaches mentioned above or ways we’ve never seen. A little experimentation may create the perfect teaser for the big day or a piece of companion content. To learn more about what we offer at Facebook, you can check out Facebook Blueprint or Facebook Creative Hub.


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@andrewjkeller Andrew Keller is global creative director for Facebook Creative Shop and a member of the Adweek Advisory Board.
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