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Q&A with IAB’s Eric John

Eric John, Deputy Director, Video, works with media companies, publishers, and marketers to help grow their video business through industry standards, research, and buyer/seller best practices. He shares his insights on Super Bowl advertising and its impact on video.

Does the hype around Super Bowl advertising transfer over to video advertising?
Yes, I think the hype around Super Bowl advertising does transfer to video advertising. The pre (and post) game buzz around Super Bowl ads certainly drives continued views and engagement, including for commercials that are reformatted for other platforms (like vertical video on mobile). Super Bowl ads that continue to resonate invariably tap into the power of sight, sound and motion to tell a story and stir emotion, through humor, inspiration, or even just providing a glimpse of a favorite celeb

What’s your favorite example of a brand maximizing cross-screen viewer engagement during the Super Bowl?
Over the years, Esurance has done a great job at maximizing cross-screen viewer engagement during the Super Bowl. Three years ago, Esurance bought the first ad right after the Super Bowl finished. In their commercial, they touted that they saved $1.5 million by running their spot immediately following, rather than during the game (a clever stunt for a company whose mission is to save their customers money). However, Esurance also spurred incredible viewer engagement by giving a chance to win that $1.5 million, by Tweeting “#EsuranceSave30.” The winner was picked at random and announced during ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live three days after the Super Bowl. Their brand message was ultimately shown to millions of viewers that tuned into the game and those viewers were further incentivized to engage on Twitter, extending the brand’s reach on that social platform. These are the kinds of cross-platform, promotional strategies that are increasingly becoming a core part of marketer’s event-driven playbooks.

What do you think about the trend of brands “leaking” their Super Bowl ads online ahead of game day?
There’s a couple of schools of thought on this. Some brands prefer to do their “big reveal” during the game. Others, like Budweiser for instance, have produced short teaser ads as a preview for their longer Super Bowl commercials. Their strategy is to build audiences in advance across multiple platforms, especially social, to help increase reach as well as game day awareness and post-game response. Ultimately these brands are looking to maximize their sizable Super Bowl investment and ensure that their ads have a long shelf life, reaching the widest audience possible (because believe it or not, not everybody watches the Super Bowl).

 Do you have a ritual/tradition for watching the Super Bowl?
I love watching both the game and the commercials. Sometimes we gather to watch with friends and family and some years I watch it solo. The one tradition I do have is making sure that I have my favorite snacks on hand (mainly nachos and lots of them).

 Anything we should have asked that you’d like to add?
Direct-to-consumer brands are on the rise (a trend we’ll be exploring at the upcoming IAB Annual Leadership Meeting). We’re seeing brands managing their own supply chains, bypassing middlemen (including traditional indirect marketing) and reducing costs for consumers. Many of these direct-to-consumer brands are side-stepping traditional channels especially during their start-up phases because they’re increasingly able to develop personal relationships with consumers via other channels (like social media). At the same time, we’re seeing some of these same direct-to-consumer brands starting to dip their toes into Advanced TV (OTT and Addressable TV) and traditional linear TV advertising as they become more established. An example is Dollar Shave Club that purchased a Super Bowl ad in the 2016 game. It will be interesting to see if more direct-to-consumer brands jump into Super Bowl advertising this year as well.